Dr Victor Agyeman, Director of Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), has appealed to government to give priority attention and provide the needed financial support to science and technology research institutions to enable them generate and transfer appropriate technologies to support industrial growth.
He said the nature of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operations in Ghana illustrated the important roles scientists had to play to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in terms of advice, technology generation and transfer.
Speaking at a start-up workshop of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) Development and Promotion Project in Kumasi on Tuesday, Dr Agyeman pointed out that, without science and technology, the country could make little progress in achieving its developmental agenda.
The project being implemented by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is aimed at creating an opportunity for the strengthening of the weak collaboration that currently existed between research institution, SMEs and industry.
Dr Agyeman said implementation of the MSME project, STEPRI would play a key role in bridging the research-industry gap so that SMEs and industries could take advantage of the various technologies that had been generated by CSIR.
He said as the project progresses it would be able to unearth most of the challenges in the SME sector, come up with practical means of addressing the challenges and most importantly, link SMEs to institutions and individuals who could partner effectively to address their challenges.
Dr Agyeman called on SME entrepreneurs to re-engineer into competitiveness in order to remain in business.
Mr Kofi Opoku Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister, said government would implement appropriate programmes to shore up the Small and Medium Scale sector to enable it play its role as a major source of employment in the country.
He said government would use every available means to mobilize resources internally and externally to establish schemes that would close the huge credit gap and simultaneously enhance the development of sound and sustainable micro finance systems in the country.
Mr Kofi Agyen Boateng, Senior Operations Officer of World Bank Office in Accra said the bank was keen to ensure MSMEs in Ghana increase productivity, become competitive and grow to provide employment to improve the living standards of the people.
He said the partnership between science and technology and SMEs aimed at identifying how science and technology could bear on SMEs to promote growth and development.
Mr Francis Kusi, MSME Project Coordinator at MOTI, said the main objective of the project, being funded by the World Bank, was to enhance the levels of employment in the MSME sector in particular and the Ghanaian economy in general.
Dr George Owusu Essegbey, Director of STEPRI said the institute's specific tasks were to conduct enterprise studies, facilitate development of market linkages, create awareness and sensitisation of stakeholders and promote SME cluster initiatives.
He said the project was a means to nurture competitiveness of entrepreneurs in Ghana.
Nana Asante Frimpong, Ashanti Regional Chairman of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said in-spite of the many challenges confronting the nation it lacked the ability to find solutions to problems and challenges that had been identified.
He said AGI was ready to partner government to ensure the private sector was developed to create employment for the people.