Ghana Alternative Market to benefit SMEs

stock-exchange-The Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) would provide credible and efficient market for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and a parallel market that offer opportunities to investors for investment.

Ms Magdalene Apenteng, Director of the Public Investment Division of the Ministry of Finance said listing an SME on the GAX increases visibility, provides liquidity for shareholders, facilitates innovation and growth and also comes with tax benefits.

The GAX is the alternative stock market administered by the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) targeting small businesses “with potential for growth”.

She said in complementing government’s efforts, the Ministry of Finance is playing its traditional coordination role to support the GSE and to ensure that more SMEs get listed on the GAX, which serves as the alternative avenue for SMEs to raise the much needed long term capital for expansion.

Mrs Apenteng made the remarks at the launch of the Capital SME, an initiative by the British High Commission aimed at growing SMEs and boosting capital market activity in Ghana.

The primary objective of the project is to encourage more SMEs to list on the GAX.

Further stages of the project include increased engagement with government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and financial institutions to support capital market development; and hosting informative conferences and related networking events.

Capital SME’s current target is to support a minimum of five SMEs in listing on the GAX within one year of implementation.

Mrs Apenteng noted that SMEs would continue to remain the backbone of the economy due to the important role of stimulating domestic demand through job creation, innovation and competition.

“There is no doubt that SMEs have the potential to mobilise domestic resources and boost international trade and demand,” she said.

“Prioritising SME development is therefore critical for promoting inclusive economic growth globally,” she added.

Mrs Apenteng said it is unfortunate that SME’s are still vastly challenged by numerous factors and so they are not able to play the desired role with a lot of untapped potentials.

“The main challenge of lack of access to sustainable finance remains a key constraint that has to be addressed to enable the SMEs deal head-on with issues of financing innovative business projects that are to enhance job creation and help expand the economy’s output,” she stated.

“For these reasons, we welcome Capital SME to partner the many initiatives currently being implemented in providing SMEs with access to critical business infrastructure,” she added.

Mrs Apenteng said some of the important market deficiencies and imperfections that Capital SME seeks to address are to provide a platform for information sharing, creating a networking avenue to take advantage of business opportunities, bringing more clarity to the operations of GAX and sharing experiences of other listed SMEs on the GAX.

She affirmed government’s commitment in supporting the rapid growth of the SMEs sector to position it to play the desired role in Ghana’s pursuit for efficient, vibrant and liquid capital market.

Mr Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner, said an economic growth that brings job creation is the best way of helping developing countries to eradicate poverty.

He said what Ghana and other developing countries need is to create jobs.

He said due to population growth, creating jobs for today and tomorrow’s youth is extremely important.

Dr Adu Anane Antwi, the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission said the 2013 Banking Survey Report estimated that about 90 per cent of companies registered in Ghana were SMEs and that the sector contributed about 49 per cent of Ghana’s gross domestic product in 2012.

Source: GNA

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