GHANA AND the Japanese Government have signed two agreements to support small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as well as underprivileged farmers in the country.
The agreement comprises a GH¢12,900,000 non-project grant to support SMEs and a GH¢3,182,000 faclity for peasant farmers.
The grant is expected to help operators in small and medium scale industry import industrial machineries, production equipment, industrial goods, raw materials and retail goods while the second facility will enable poor farmers to access agricultural equipment and machinery from Japan.
At a signing ceremony in Accra, Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Minister for Foreign Affairs initialed for Ghana while Masamichi Ishikawa, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana initialed for his government.
Mr Owusu-Adjei remarked that the non-project grant popularly known as 'Japanese Grant' which is on-lend to firms in the private sector on soft terms, has within the last three years been enjoyed by not less than 150 SMEs in Ghana.
He mentioned that the current allocation of ¥370 million is about three percent higher than the previous allocation of ¥360 million in 2005. Ghana has benefited from 18 of such grants at a total of ¥6.56 billion ($59 million).
He pointed out that the grant is intended for the procurement of agricultural machinery, equipment, tools and various inputs for resale to Ghanaian farmers to increase food production.
“The grant to the peasant farmers would provide a significant complement to the efforts of the government to procure the required agricultural machinery so as to increase agricultural production for the benefit of all in Ghana,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the government would ensure that the proceeds from the grant is utilized appropriately to ensure the realization of the objectives of the grant.
The Japanese Ambassador stated that though the government of Ghana is making significant progress in improving the business environment for the private sector, “it is still not easy for SMEs to acquire the necessary inputs for improving on the quality of their products”.
He noted that the Japanese government believes in self help and is committed to supporting the efforts of Ghana to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the people.
He explained that the materials that would be purchased under the grants would be allocated on request from the private sector on hire purchase and the repayment, deposited into an account with the Bank of Ghana to be used for developmental projects in Ghana.By Emelia Ennin