District Assemblies have been urged to facilitate enterprise development for the accelerated advancement of their areas.
According to participants at a workshop on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development in Ghana yesterday, one of the cardinal functions of the Assemblies was to promote and support productive activity and social development of districts.
They should therefore create an enabling environment and support SMEs to flourish. The workshop organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, PSD, PSI and the Japan International Co-operation (JICA), was aimed at strengthening linkages among local government, higher institutions of learning and SMEs.
The participants were drawn from industry, academia and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Central and Western regions.
They stated that given the necessary infrastructure and financial support, SMEs could turn round the economic fortunes of the districts and the country. The workshop participants appealed to district assemblies to support SMEs in their areas to expand and improve their services since the districts could not develop with them.
Dr (Mrs) Rosemond Boohene, Lecturer at the Department of Business at the UCC, who spoke on: "the linkages between institutions of higher learning and SMEs called for a symbiotic relationship between them to share and exchange ideas and experiences.
This she said would enable graduates to have practical experience while entrepreneurs would also gain more knowledge on their businesses. Other speakers at the function included Ms Aba Amissah Quainoo, Executive Director of MEL Consults, which did a survey on SMEs in the country and Mr Spenser Taylor, Head of the Investment Promotion Unit of the Central Regional Development Commission.
Both of them identified the problems of SMEs in the country to include competition from foreign goods, power fluctuation, poor quality of raw materials and high utility tariffs.
They called for the alignment of educational goals to businesses, where learning activities would be incorporated into the way people interact with their clients to help improve services.
A Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Edward Ntifo-Siaw, who chaired the function said the nation would have to re-define the kind of graduates the country wants because of large number of them were "theoretically strong but practically inexperienced".
According to him, most graduates after school would rather remain unemployed than to take a risk of starting their own businesses due to the nature of their training and stressed the need for the universities to reconsider their programmes to suit the changing needs of time.