The Upper West Regional branch of the Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI) has called for the establishment of small business desks in Municipal and District assemblies in the region as a tool for promoting small business operations.
The Association said lack of coordination between the ASSI and the Assemblies was hampering the growth of small and medium industries and local economic development in the Region
This, they said, was contradicting section 10 (3c) of the Local Government Act which mandates Assemblies to promote productive ventures by removing obstacles to Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) growth.
The Association made the call at a one-day sensitization seminar in Wa at the weekend on a research study conducted by the ASSI with the support of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund.
The study had an over-all goal of improving the business environment for the small and medium enterprises by demanding resource allocation from the assemblies’ budget for their growth and expansion at the district level.
Findings through the research revealed that budgetary support to SMEs was limited and there was no desk for these enterprises at the Assemblies to articulate their concerns and facilitate resource allocation to them to aid in development of the region.
It also came out that there was no law regulating or forcing assemblies to support the SMEs and that made some of the assemblies to lose sight of their constitutional mandate of promoting the development of the districts.
The Association also called for the creation of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sub-committees in the assemblies and make sure they function effectively to spearhead the cause of the ASSI and the enterprises.
Mr. Gabriel Fiatui, a Business Development Consultant, urged the Association to institute the payment of membership dues to increase its financial base to enable it to undertake outreach programmes such as awareness creation, capacity development, lobbying and advocacy to promote SMEs.
He said weak and malfunctioning SMEs resulted in less business activities and low revenue mobilization for the Assemblies and less development projects.
“Creating a vibrant business environment for the SME’s to strive is necessary and mandatory”, he said.