Business News of 2013-12-04

Veep inaugurates third phase of Rural Enterprises Project

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, yesterday inaugurated phase three of the US$192 million Rural Enterprises Project (REP III) for the country at Savelugu in the Northern Region. Under the REP III, which covers the period between 2013-2017, a total of 161 districts will benefit from the facility in the country.

The project is aimed at improving the living conditions of the rural poor, as well as increasing the number of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the rural communities of the country. The intervention is a follow-up to REP I&II that were successfully implemented in 66 districts of the country.

Inaugurating the facility, Mr Amissah-Arthur noted that "the introduction of the REP is a demonstration of the commitment of the government to promote sustainable policies aimed at reducing poverty in the country".

According to him, the programme sought to strengthen the linkages between agriculture, industry and the service sectors of the economy, adding that it would also support the various assemblies to build the institutional structures for poverty reduction.

He observed that the intervention was also an important step in accelerating the shared growth agenda and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in general.

Mr Amissah-Arthur, therefore, called on all district assemblies to “fully embrace the REP to help reduce poverty by increasing the number of rural MSEs and thereby create jobs and contribute to increase rural incomes".

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, noted that 21 districts in the Northern Region were to benefit from the programme, adding that so far REP I&II had created about 56,000 jobs nationwide.

He entreated the managers of the programme to ensure that more women benefitted from the intervention.

The Resident Representative of the AfDB, Mrs Marie Akin-Olugbade, said under REP III, the AfDB was supporting the government with concessional and grant facilities totalling US$77 million for several reasons, including “creating more than 100,000 jobs”.

She observed that the outcome of the earlier REP interventions created about 24,000 profitable businesses and an estimated 10,000 small-scale enterprises were linked to larger ones.

The National Director of the REP, Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, said it was envisaged that the REP would "enable rural enterprises in the country to have easy access to business support services to establish and grow businesses to generate employment, increase income and improve on livelihoods".

The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Bede Ziedeng, noted that the intervention was a sure way of helping to eliminate the "kayayei menace" in the region.