Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, has appealed to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to develop their skills to benefit from the many trade and investment opportunities government has created.
He said government had created avenues to aid business to flourish but because some SMEs did not have the required expertise and skills they were unable to tap into such prospects.
Mr Iddrisu said this at the maiden Northern Business Breakfast Meeting as part of the Second Northern Ghana Investment Conference jointly organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) and Ridmut Consult in Tamale at the weekend.
The forum, which brought together business executives, entrepreneurs and government agencies, was meant to network and discuss current business trends and opportunities in the Northern Region.
The Minister advised SME’s especially those in the north to diversify their business ideas as part of developing the scope in the industry to create wealth to reduce the rate of unemployment.
He urged SME’s to uphold the traditional business values such as truth and honesty to boost investor confidence in the region.
“It is an undeniable fact that the North has a huge potential in agriculture, tourism and culture as well as hospitality. People can only invest up here if we put our house in order by holding on fast to our high moral values and striving hard to reduce conflict,” he said.
Dr Issahaku Nashiru, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), called for the need to regularly build a strong linkage between business stakeholders to enable the growth of SME’s in the region.
He advised SME’s to approach trade agencies of government such as GIPC and EDAIF to benefit from their investment programmes.
Dr Nashiru said the BoG was working hard to ensure that the interest rate was reduced to enable and encourage SME’s access credit to develop their businesses
He said government was committed to bridging the development gap of the Region and would soon initiate many infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the Tamale Airport and a number of factories to process agricultural produce for local consumption and export.
Mr Roy Ayariga, Chief executive Officer of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), said the potentials of the North exceeded its challenges and advised the youth not to hesitate to develop their entrepreneurial skills to harness the opportunities in the Region.
He appealed to financial institutions to extend their offices to the hinter land to ensure that farmers benefitted from their services.