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The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has directed Municipal and District Chief Executives to help empower the youth for private sector entrepreneurship programmes.

He said, municipal and district assemblies should aim at enhancing access to rural finance schemes by rural MSEs to promote the growth of local industries, which will in turn generate employment.

 Dr. Spio-Garbrah was speaking at a conference on Rural Enterprise Programmes attended by Municipal and District Chief Executives, and Coordinating Directors at Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The Minister charged Municipal and District Chief Executives to make determined efforts to encourage the youth to engage in rural enterprises, saying that the government had provided opportunities for young people to engage in productive businesses through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP), which must be assessed to stimulate economic growth.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah noted that although government had made huge investments in the Rural Enterprises Programme, the full potentials of that programme to generate employment and improve the livelihoods of the rural poor, micro and small-scale entrepreneurs were yet to be fully tapped.

The Minister therefore urged the 161 participating municipal and district assemblies to use the Business Advisory Centers of REP to share information on the numerous interventions that the Government of Ghana had introduced to support unemployed graduates to enter into the private sector for gainful employment.

He said the Youth Enterprise Scheme (YES), EIDAIF, National Board for Small Scale Industries and other public sector enterprises which government and its development partners are funding are providing financial support to individuals and organizations venturing into entrepreneurship.

He said it was incumbent on Municipal and District assemblies to encourage the youth in their various communities to venture into micro, small, and medium enterprises to foster the diversification of the Ghanaian economy and employment creation.

 He mentioned agro ventures such as oil palm extracting, cassava processing, poultry, snail, and beekeeping as examples.  He said Municipal and District Chief executives should negotiate with traditional leaders to provide land to youth in the districts for cultivation and start-up businesses.  

The Minister assured district assemblies of the commitment of his Ministry to help assemblies facilitate vigorously, the growth of rural MSEs to increase profit, growth, and employment opportunities.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah advised unemployed youth, particularly graduates, to register businesses and to develop project proposals in order to qualify for the numerous social intervention schemes available. The Minister expressed regret that while many lives were changing through the Rural Enterprises Programme, graduates continued to be unconscious of the rich potentials of participating  in private enterprises.

The National Director of the Rural Enterprises Programme, Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, advised district assemblies and businesses to coordinate their set objectives to align with the statutory mandates of the programme. He noted that this would eliminate conflict and help to achieve the goal of improving the livelihoods and incomes of the rural poor, micro and small entrepreneurs.

The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr. Justice Samuel Adjei in his remarks appealed to the beneficiaries of REP interventions to take ownership of the programmes to reduce rural- urban migration.

As part of his tour of the Region, the Trade and Industry Minister paid working visits to Rural Technology Facility (RTF) centers and also small scale enterprises operating in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The field visit took Dr. Spio-Garbrah and his team to the oil palm and cassava processing ventures in Bechem, Obiri Wood works and Nana Paul Chang Aquaculture in Duayaw Nkwanta, and the Berekum Bee Keeping Industry.

Others are the leather works at Techiman, poultry farming at Dwomo, Cassava processing at Wenchi, Kona cashew in Wenchi and to other SMEs in the Brong Ahafo Region. He also held meetings with cashew growers and buyers to address concerns in the cashew industry, as well as meeting the business community in the Region.
Source: GNA

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