Over 80% of SMEs do not have international certification – Study

Over 80 per cent of Ghanaian Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) do not have any form of international certification to enhance their business operations globally.

Also, only 22 per cent of SMEs have a quality certification from a relevant domestic regulatory authority while the remaining 78 per cent have none.

Mr Isaac Yaw Obeng, a Research Associate, presenting findings of a study on operations of SMEs at a stakeholder consultative meeting by CUTS International, a research and public policy think-tank, said 70 per cent of Ghanaian SMEs operated a bank account for their businesses.

The study assessed the level of competitiveness and growth-readiness of Ghanaian SMEs for enhanced participation in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The consultative meeting was on the topic: “Improving framework conditions to unlock the potential of AfCFTA for SMEs in Ghana,” and expected to come out with a diagnostic report to help develop practical steps in addressing gaps and challenges towards improving the business framework conditions for SMEs.

The study, which is still at the consultation level, seek to identify how uncompetitive framework conditions could affect the competitiveness of SMEs under AfCFTA.

Mr Obeng said on the capacity of Ghanaian firms to connect, 39 per cent of the SMEs surveyed said they used emails to communicate with their customers and suppliers, while only 29 per cent owned and used a website to enhance their daily operations.

“63 per cent of the SMEs indicated that they use some form of technology like mobile phone with social media platforms to enhance their productivity,” he added.

Mr Obeng, said the study showed that 42 per cent of the SMEs prepared annually audited financial accounts while 58 per cent did not.

Consequently, he said only 20 per cent of the SMEs indicated that they had good or excellent capabilities to engage financial institutions for support.

Mr Obeng said the survey result showed that just about 19 per cent of the SMEs interviewed had a good or excellent capabilities in relation to accessibility of trade information and that just 30 per cent had easy access to trade-related infrastructure.

He said only 25 per cent indicated that they had a good or excellent dealings with governmental agencies on documentation, registration, licensing and regulatory issues.

He noted that the Ghanaian business environment or macro economy was also not conducive for the survival of most SMEs, adding “Most of the sampled SMEs have excess capacities but lacked a functioning management structure. This is notwithstanding the fact that most of these firms have not made sufficient investments in the production, finishing and packaging of their products to meet international standards.”

Mr Obeng entreated SMEs to familiarise themselves with AfCFTA and acquire domestic and internationally-recognised quality certification for growth.

He urged them to trade in the African export market for exposure and help open-up the local economy.

Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, West African Regional Director, CUTS, called on small businesses to consider venturing into the e-commerce space to market their products.

He described Ghana as an attractive business destination but cautioned that local businesses could be displaced if they failed to be competitive.

“It is sad that almost all the shopping malls in the country showcase foreign products,” he noted, and said it was important SMEs ensured they remained relevant in the market place by meeting standards and working on their packaging to compete favourably and globally.

Source: GNA

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