Business News of Friday, 5 April 2013
Source: Daily Guide
Government, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has enlisted 50 Small & Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) to the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprise (SCORE) project to assist them grow.
The project, supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), aims at training the SMEs to improve their performance and make them competitive, self sufficient, responsible and capable of increasing production of quality goods and services while creating job avenues.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day conference to promote the success stories of the ILO SCORE project in Ghana, Sina Chuma Mkandawire, Director, ILO Area Office, said the programme had already trained 40 SMEs since its introduction a year ago.
She said the conference would give the 50 new SMEs with potential to participate in SCORE the opportunity to learn from the enterprises that have participated in the SCORE training.
“The conference will also give opportunity for the SCORE trained enterprises to network their activities under the employers and unions organizations to work as formidable teams or cells under the associations to achieve decent works for Ghanaians,” she said.
Mkandawire said SMEs employ up to 90 percent of workers worldwide. “SMEs are therefore the key towards the emergence of large and rapid growing middle class. They are also the key to decent work,’ she noted.
She however said that although SMEs have a lot of potential in generating more employment and producing goods and services that are affordable to many people, the sector’s productivity is about 20 to 40 per cent which accounts for lower wages.
She therefore observed that upgrading productivity through better people management and good workplace practices is the right approach which the ILO has chosen to promote SMEs through SCORE. “If we can help SMEs to grow and boost productivity, wages and living standards of many people will raise,” she said.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashitey, in his remarks to officially open the conference, said the participating companies have achieved impressive changes, adding that through SCORE managers and workers have become more organized, improved management, reduced defects, and cleaned up their operations.
“It is important for us to cherish this project because it provides more employment for Ghanaians,” he said. He therefore called on enterprises to take advantage of the project to improve on their businesses.
Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union (GTUC), commended the ILO for introducing the SCORE programme to help build the capacity of SMEs. “It is the hope of the GTUC that a lot more SMEs will see the importance and buy into the project,” he said.
An exhibition was held by the beneficiary enterprises to bring to the public view the success of the project. Certificates were also presented to companies, employees and trainers who had successfully completed the programme.