More than  500 Micro Small Medium Scale (MSME) have benefitted from a progressive licensing scheme introduced by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to facilitate the formalisation of businesses.

This is geared towards the formal opening of market opportunities for MSMEs.

The scheme, which financially supports businesses to obtain Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) registration for one product per business, was part of a strategic move by the NBSSI in partnership with Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works project to help Ghanaian MSME take optimum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

For Ghanaian MSMEs to be in a high position of exploiting the enormous opportunities the agreement has to offer, “FDA Certification is needed to give the public an assurance that the products are of good quality and meets approved standards,” said Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Executive Director of NBSSI, in an interview.

She indicated that once products met local standards set by regulatory authorities, it had the needed credibility to be marketed to wider markets and could therefore compete favourably with other commodities within the continent.

“I am convinced that is what the industry wants. We have exceeded a target of 500 for the first year. In the coming years, we are going to make it a cardinal duty at the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

“Currently, we have a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Progressive Licensing with the FDA. We will look at enhancing it and create a more conducive registration and formalisation regime for SMEs in Ghana,” she said.

MSMEs have so far benefitted from the formalisation drive of the Young Africa Works initiative through trainings on branding and packaging, sensitisations on FDA requirements and processes, support to obtain product certification from Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) and assisting Sole Proprietors to register with Registrar General’s Department.

Beneficiaries were mainly from the sectors of Agric and Agro-processing, Food and Beverages, Manufacturing (cosmetics and household chemicals) and Pharmaceuticals.

Out of the 558 MSMEs submitted to the FDA, about 465 MSMEs which represented 83 per cent were women owned businesses.

Meanwhile, certifications have so far been issued to 226 businesses.