Govt allocates 20% of procurement contracts to women

The government has announced that it would reserve 20% of all its procurement contracts to women.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta made this disclosure when he presented the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review to Parliament on Thursday, July 29.

Noting that the women in the country have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through lesser earnings and savings, he said, “to advance the economic well-being of our women, the government is activating a policy to have 20% of procurement awarded to women.”

Additionally, women would be supported with specific capacity building programmes and empowered to leverage the gender-sensitive lending policies to be implemented by the Development Bank of Ghana (DBG).

Accentuating the ravaging effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the finance minister said the pandemic threatened efforts to tackle discrimination and inequality against women.

The sectors that were hardest hit by the crisis include tourism, hospitality and small-scale retailing.

Women dominate these sectors, which serve as a source of sustainable income and livelihood to many women employees.

According to the minister, Ghana was one of the few countries in the world that devised a plan to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) was minimised.

He noted that through the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), formerly National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), a number of programmes were implemented to minimise the impact of the pandemic.

Such programmes, he said, have supported the realisation of the government’s vision of diversity, inclusivity and job creation.

READ ALSO: 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review: No New Taxes, No Additional Expenditure

Under the GH¢600 million Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support (CAPBuSS), a total amount of GH¢520,111,918.67 was disbursed to 299,490 MSMEs beneficiaries between May 2020 and June 2021.

For the 299,490 beneficiaries who benefited under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP Buss), 69% of the beneficiaries were women-owned businesses.

The intervention unlocked access to finance mainly to women who would not have been able to access funds to support and build their businesses.

Technical support was also provided in the form of training in entrepreneurship and financial management to 15,748 beneficiaries across Ghana, with about 67 per cent being females.

Over 740,000 jobs have been protected and a database of 914,000 MSMEs has been created to inform policy, MrOfori-Atta added.

One Million jobs initiative

Mr Ofori-Atta also promised “one million jobs” to aggressively respond to the need of the country. This is to promote growth in SMEs, support new ventures, stimulate innovation and boost start-ups.

To this end, the government’s Enterprise and Youth Support Fund (EYSF) would set up a ‘Youth Banc’ to finance youth-led start-up businesses across the country.

As part of this initiative, an online investment hub would be established for youth across the country to access information for the purpose of establishing businesses.

The EYSF would be managed by the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), which is being revamped to be better positioned to carry out the designated activities as a Fund Manager.

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