The unstructured nature of SMEs in the country makes it difficult for them to have a clearly defined environmental, health and safety measures in place, as well as the technical and commercial expertise to execute contracts.
The EDC, he said, was however limited in the role it could play to help SMEs win contracts because the centre was only to guide them in responding to the procurement requests of the IOCs, and not deciding the content of their proposals.
“For instance, when Tullow comes to us with a procurement notice, we recommend companies that are registered with us to provide the needed services. They are, however, supposed to respond to standard questions to be able to go through the prequalification process,” he said.
“What we do is to mentor and coach the SMEs to enhance their chances of securing contracts in the petroleum industry, but it will largely depend on them be able to write winning proposals. All we can do is to guide them at that stage and this is why our training programmes are very requisite.”
The passage of the Local Content Law, (LI 2204, 2013) required multi-national oil companies to give some percentage of contracts in the petroleum sector to local enterprises in order to promote local participation.
The EDC, which is a government initiative, was subsequently launched in 2013 to provide support to Ghanaian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to position them to take advantage of business opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
Progress so far
With over 380 registered SMEs, the EDC, he said, had organised series of training programmes for a number of SMEs in the oil sector.
In October 2015, 19 SMEs were taken through a course on budgeting and financial management, 23 were also taken through spreadsheet business applications in November, while 34 went through a training programme on business planning for small enterprises. In December, 21 SMEs also gained knowledge on managing information using database.
Asked how the EDC, monitors the progress of its training programmes, Mr Kumasi said, “we monitor the success or progress of our training programmes and other EDC services through field visits and assessments.
He added, “However, the ultimate key performance indicator of our capacity development efforts is the result or outcome of the participation of the SMEs in procurement processes, that is prequalification and tender.” — GB