The Ghanaian National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation under their Young Africa Works Business Formalization Project are implementing a scheme aimed at helping MSMEs within the country get certification from regulatory organizations, with about 560 Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the local sector involved in the process to receive support in formalizing their businesses to enable them to compete in formal markets, including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Dubbed the Progressive Licensing Scheme, beneficiaries within the system aided to have one of their products certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) at a reduced or no cost at all while they also receive some training on branding and packaging.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, noted that the MSMEs cut across different sectors such as agric and agro-processing, food and beverages, manufacturing (cosmetics and household chemicals), and pharmaceuticals, noting that under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the FDA, last year, the MSMEs, including 465 women-owned businesses, were being assisted financially to have one of their products per business certified at a reduced or no cost at all.

Expatiating on the scheme and another aspect it covers, she pointed towards the support rendered to the MSMEs being with the intent to position them for formal markets.

“The need to improve the activities or products of MSMEs has come to the front burner. Partly deriving from the presence of AfCFTA, we want to position MSMEs and their products to be able to compete with products from other African countries,” she said.

In an applaudable feat, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh noted that the NBSSI exceeded its target of supporting 500 businesses for the first year and that in the coming years, the Board would look at enhancing it and creating a more conducive registration and formalization regime for MSMEs in the country.