Spio-Garbrah urges municipal, district chief executives to support youth entrepreneurship
Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has urged Municipal and District Chief Executives to empower youth for private sector entrepreneurship programmes.
He said municipal and district assemblies should aim at enhancing access of rural MSEs to rural finance schemes to enable growth of local industries, which will in turn generate employment opportunities.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah was speaking at a conference on Rural Enterprise Programme attended by Municipal, 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 youth to engage in rural enterprises.
According to the Trade and Industry Minister, government has 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 has made huge investments in the Rural Enterprises Programme, the full potentials of the programme to generate employment and to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor micro and small-scale entrepreneurs are 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 several interventions that the Government of Ghana has 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 is incumbent on Municipal and District assemblies to encourage youth in their various assemblies to venture into micro, small, and medium enterprises to foster the diversification of the Ghanaian economy and employment creation. He mentioned such agro activities as oil palm extracting, cassava processing, poultry, snail, and beekeeping as examples.
He said Municipal and District Chief executives should intermediate 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 many social intervention schemes available. The Minister expressed regrets that while many lives are changing through the Rural Enterprises Programme, graduates continue to be unconscious of the rich potentials of engaging into 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 programmes.
He noted that this would eliminate conflicts on priorities to achieve the goal of improving the livelihoods and income of rural poor micro and small entrepreneurs.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo regional Minister, Mr. Justice Samuel Adjei in his remark appealed to 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 theBrongAhafo region. The field visit took Dr. Spio-Garbrah and his team to the oil palm and cassava processing 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 general meetings with cashew growers and buyers to address concerns in the cashew industry and met with the business community in the region.