The government has initiated moves to turn the various districts in the country into industrial hubs.
The initiative under the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) together with related services is intended to drive the expansion of economies, nurture entrepreneurship, create technological dynamism, foster productivity, generate employment and contribute to increased agricultural productivity.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, announced this when he distributed some vehicles and office equipment to 31 selected districts in the country.
The REP provides an opportunity for the districts to provide the enabling environment for rural enterprise development.
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The REP as part of its implementation strategy enrolls districts to participate in the programme.
The districts are expected to demonstrate their commitment by providing at least two-room office accommodation and staff for the establishment of a Business Advisory Centre (BAC) in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries.
In addition, the districts are to establish sub-committees for micro and small enterprises promotion and provide funds to support the operations of the BACs.
So far 140 districts have demonstrated their commitment and have been enrolled onto REP.
When districts fulfil their obligation towards the establishment of the BACs, the REPprovides vehicles, office equipment and funding to support micro and small enterprise development activities in the districts.
Project funding and beneficiaries
The items distributed were mainly funded under the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) loan.
The total cost including handling charges of the vehicles was US$980,000 while that of the computers was US$175,000.
The 31 beneficiary districts for this batch of allocation were: Ahafo Ano South, Atwima Mponua, Obuasi, Offinso North, Ejisu Juaben, Bosome Freho, Kwabre East, Sekyere Kumawu, Atwima Kwanwoma, Ahafo Ano North and Afigya Kwabre in the Ashanti region; Tain, Tano North, Pru and Banda in the Brong Ahafo Region. The rest are: Saboba, Savelugu Nanton, Sawla Tuna Kalba, Chereponi, Tolon, Kumbungu and Karaga in the Northern Region; KassenaNankana West, Bongo, Nabdam, Binduri and Bawku in the Upper East Region and Lawra, LambussieKarni, Wa East and Nandom in the Upper West Region.
The resources provided for the BACs were meant to promote MSE development activities in the districts.
The Trade and Industry minister said “The Government of Ghana embraces rural development as a fundamental component of all its policies and programmes and it is my sincere belief that the full potential of our country cannot be realised unless there is a holistic approach to rural development.”
He said every ambitious individual irrespective of his/her location had a role to play in the development of the country and must be given the opportunity to do so.
The National Director of the REP, Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, expressed delight at the fact that 140 districts had demonstrated their commitment and had been enrolled onto REP so far.
He expressed the commitment of the recipient districts to use the vehicles and office equipment well.
By Charles Benoni Okine/Daily Graphic/Ghana