Gov't To Provide Micro Credit To The Poor

Dr Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on Thursday said government was pursuing an aggressive and prudent financial policy to provide adequate micro- credit facilities to alleviate poverty. He said the promotion of private sector competitiveness was the only anchor for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana. Dr Duffour made this known in a speech read on his behalf at the two-day Annual Review Workshop on the Social Investment Fund (SIF) at Agona Swedru in the Central Region. He said the SIF meant to provide credit to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) was in support of government’s agenda for growth and prosperity. The Finance Minister announced that government had assisted small and medium scale enterprises, through the building of small irrigation projects and the creation of rural-based job opportunities for the youth. He said the SIF had so far approved 191 sub- projects out of which 171 were in various stages of completion, leading to the creation of 2,230 jobs in the areas of education, health, sanitation and revenue mobilization. Dr Duffour said the 48,600 Ghana Cedis loan facility approved by the SIF for SMEs was aimed at improving and expanding businesses and to create employment to reduce poverty. Mr Joseph Yireh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said the Urban Poverty Reduction Project (UPRP) was implemented to reduce urban poverty in the beneficiary Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) Ms Ama Serwaa Dapaah, Executive Director of SIF said the project was to improve on socio-economic growth, job creation, public/private partnership and governance at the local level to promote quality livelihood in urban areas. She noted that the programme would also accelerate income generating activities through capacity building for pro-poor and strengthened urban small-scale enterprise sector. Ms Ama Benyiwa Doe, Regional Minister charged the MMDAs to ensure the immediate implementation and completion of all projects under SIF/UPRP to create wealth and jobs for the people. Mr Jacob Felix Obeng-Forson, Agona West Municipal Chief Executive said the review meeting was timely since it would iron out the challenges facing the programme. The Project covers assemblies namely: Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi/Takoradi, Koforidua, Ho, Tema, Agogo, Akim Oda, Agona Swedru, Apam, Kasoa and Wenchi.