The Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has presented Nissan Navara Pickups, Motorbikes and office equipment to 34 selected municipal and district assemblies implementing the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP). The vehicles and office equipment are to be used by the respective Business Advisory Centers, which are the district level implementing unit of REP, to help in business establishment and growth in rural communities.
The assemblies were selected from the Western, Central, Greater Accra and Volta regions. The estimated cost of the vehicles and motorbikes is GH¢3.18 million and that of the computers is GH¢333,584. They were funded by the government, with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB). Already, thirty one (31) districts from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions have benefited from the logistics with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who are co-financiers of the Programme.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Dr Spio-Garbrah mentioned that the government considered the expansion of opportunities for job creation and decent work critical to its agenda of building a better Ghana, and explained that “the government was of the firm belief that the full potential of the country could not be realised unless there was an all-inclusive approach towards rural development”. The Trade and Industry Minister said the government was focused on implementing policies and programmes that supported the creation of jobs, business opportunities and production that will reduce poverty and create wealth. He added that the Rural Enterprises Programme was one of such interventions. He mentioned that as local government authorities, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) have a mandate to provide and support such critical intervention, designed to create jobs and employment opportunities for the teeming youth and generally improve the living conditions of the people in their respective areas. “You should see REP as a critical partner and support the Business Advisory Centres (BAC), to be able to identify, create and grow business enterprises to improve incomes and reduce poverty”, the Minister said.
National Director of REP, Kwasi Attah-Antwi, said the items were part of the resources REP provided to Municipal and District Assemblies, which were enrolled to implement the Programme. He explained that REP also provides the districts with funds to be able to deliver various business development services to potential and existing business operators. For districts to benefit from the REP, they are required to demonstrate some commitment, including the establishment of a business advisory centre, in collaboration with the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI).
The Rural Enterprises Programme, under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is part of the Government of the Ghana’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in rural areas. The objective is to increase the number of micro and small enterprises that generate profit, growth and employment opportunities.