The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) have received 457 business plans from individual business entities towards the implementation of the government’s One District-One Factory (1D-1F) policy. Out of that 435 have been reviewed by the Ministry and 173 of them are ready to take off, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry disclosed when he was speaking at a one-day orientation workshop on the government’s industrialisation agenda on Friday in Sunyani.
The workshop was organised by the MoTI through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) for Parliamentarians and Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) from the 161 Municipalities/Districts nationwide that are benefiting from the REP. It was designed for the MoTI to inform the participants on the government’s industrial transformation agenda and the Ministry’s 10-point plan to drive that agenda.
The programme also discussed, in particular, the alignment of the activities of REP to support the realisation of the strategies for the industrialisation plan. Mr Ahomka-Lindsay who spoke on behalf of Mr John Alan Kyeremateng, the sector Minister reiterated that the key objective of the one district one factory policy was to create massive job opportunities in rural and peri-urban communities to reduce rural-urban migration. He said the 173 businesses including agro-processing and manufacturing companies were spread across the 10 regions of the country.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsay urged the MDCEs to exhibit the commitment and preparedness for their respective assemblies to prepare the grounds by acquiring the necessary acres of agricultural lands and additional acres of land for specific and multi-purpose businesses for the successful implementation of the policy and the industrialisation agenda.
Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, the National Director of the REP recalled that the Programme was initiated in 1995 in only two districts, Techiman in Brong-Ahafo and Sekyere West, now Mampong Municipal in the Ashanti Region. But due to laudable achievements of set objectives, it had up-scaled through the years in phases to become a national programme now being implemented in 161 Municipalities and Districts, he added. Mr Attah-Antwi said the REP had been funded by the government of Ghana, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and through its collaborative efforts with key agencies it had established a trail of strong MSE institutional support network in the country.
The key agencies he mentioned were the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), GRATIS Foundation, Bank of Ghana, ARB Apex Bank, nongovernmental organisations, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Municipal/District Assemblies.
Mr Attah-Antwi said through the collaborating institutions, skills training and technology transfer had been promoted, leading to the establishment of a number of businesses and also employment generation particularly for the youth. He added that the REP’s scheme to promote access to rural finance had evolved interesting products like the Rural Enterprise Development Fund and Matching Grant Fund which supported the creation and growth of enterprises.
Mr Attah-Antwi indicated the main issue being addressed now by the REP was how to step up and also sustain the operations and the structures established for the MSE promotion in the country beyond the Programme phase. He said that effort tied in and was consistent with the government’s agenda towards industrial transformation in the country, hence the realignment of the activities of REP to support the agenda, thereby ensuring the sustainability of its achievements.
Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister in a welcoming address said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) was taking the necessary steps to attract more industries and businesses to the region for the betterment of the people. He said the RCC, therefore, recognised the REP as a strategic partner in that effort and would contribute its quota through the regional committee on micro and small enterprises promotion to ensure a collective work to develop micro-businesses into small and small-scale enterprises into bigger ones.