Minister tasks Venture Capital Fund to maximise investments in SMEs

Accra, The reconstituted Governing Board of the Venture Capital Trust Fund was, on Monday, inaugurated, with a charge on members to strategically align its investment in at least 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) over the medium-term.

They should also expand the existing SMEs to help maximise economic growth and reduce unemployment, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, a Deputy Minister of Finance, who administered the Oath of Office oath, told the nine-member Board.

She stated: As you are aware, the Venture Capital Trust Fund is a creation of Government of Ghana, through an Act of Parliament with the aim of developing the Venture Capital and Private Equity ecosystem in Ghana. This is meant to provide long-term funding to SMEs and support the growth of the private sector, which is the engine for economic growth.

The Board is chaired by Mr Kofi Owusu Sekyere, with Mr Yaw Owusu-Brempong; Mr Fuseini Issah, the Member of Parliament for Okaikwei North constituency; Madam Efua Asabea Asare and Mr Peterson Ekow Afedzie, as members.

The others are: Dr John Kofi Mensah, Mr Franklin Owusu Asafo Adjei, Mr Brian Frimpong and Mrs Efua Apenteng.

Mrs Osei Asare said: Over time, various management issues have been cited in the Auditor General’s report from wrongful payments of 3.6 million dollars to acquire a property, gratuity payment to Board without approval, granting huge loans without due diligence, and others.

You and your team are also to ensure that there is transparency in your operations and investment decision.

Mrs Osei Asare tasked the Board to focus on their mandate, clean up its image and also strengthen the capacity of the management and staff to be more innovative.

I will like to draw the attention of the Board to the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (ACT 921) as you exercise your oversight responsibilities, she said.

The PFM Act, in Section 90, mandates the board of State Owned Enterprises to formulate and maintain policies, procedures, risk management and internal control systems and governance and management practices that would ensure that the organisation manages its resources prudently and operates effectively to achieve its objects.

She called for a cordial relationship between the board and management of the Venture Capital Trust Fund and within the sector.

Mr Owusu Sekyere, the Chair of the Board, thanked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the opportunity to serve the country and pledged the Board’s commitment to work hard to adequately resource and empower the SMEs.

He said the SMEs were a prerequisite to unlock the country’s fortune in national development at this critical period of the country’s growth, and since it was widely upheld that a healthy and buoyant private sector could salvage the economy; the charge was in the right direction.

As evidently proven in developed economies, SMEs are the indisputable engines of growth, needless to say, that apart from propelling the national economy in the right direction, the empowerment of SMEs and private sector ventures fall squarely in line with the government’s vision of One District, One Factory and is a sure way of generating employment and, by and large, of upgrading the quality of life of our people, he said.

It is this challenge that I and my good colleagues on this Board will set out from today to rectify and work to enable our SMEs to play a crucial in the growth and development agenda of our dear country.

I trust that with dedication, commitment and integrity, we shall make significant difference in the administration of the fund, going forward.

Source: Ghana News Agency