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Over 74,000 People Benefit From Rural Enterprise Project in NR

2007-07-23 21:41:58
This article has been read 808 times.

Mustapha Idris Ali
Over 74,000 people in rural communities in the Northern Region have benefited from a wide range of services, under the second phase of the Rural Enterprises Project (REP).

These included business development, technology promotion, apprenticeship and rural financing. Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, the Northern Regional Minister, announced these in a speech read for him at the inauguration of the Project at Bole on Monday, during which the Bole District Assembly and the REP signed a memorandum of understanding.

He said some of the beneficiaries were able to start new businesses while others had improved upon their existing economic ventures.

Alhaji Idris said Rural Banks and other financial institutions in the communities were also now prepared to do business with entrepreneurs.

He appealed to the Assembly to support the Project to enable it achieve its objectives towards the development of the communities.

Alhaji Idris commended the REP for marketing the Northern Region to the country in particular and the world at large through exhibitions and trade shows.

In a related development, the District Implementation Committee was launched with the mandate to assist the technical staff of the Assembly to ensure effective planning and monitoring of REP programmes within the framework of the decentralised government system. Madam Elizabeth Salamatu Forgor, the District Chief Executive, in a speech read for her, said the Assembly had already initiated schemes that would assist the people to take advantage of the REP to undertake economic activities to improve upon their standards of living.

She mentioned the provision of a tractor and shea nut processing plants for Shea Butter Cooperatives in the Bole and Mandari areas as some of the initiatives.

Madam Forgor said the Assembly had also purchased tractors with part of its Common Fund for the Department of Cooperatives, the District Agriculture Development Unit and the National Youth Employment Programme to engage in primary agriculture.

She also indicated that the Assembly had given a temporary office to the Business Advisory Committee of the Project, and gave the assurance that the Committee would have two permanent offices within the Assembly's annex building when it was completed.

Mrs. Afua Ohene-Ampofo, the Zonal Coordinator of the REP, said the Project was an integrated rural development programme aimed at alleviating poverty and improving the living conditions of people in the rural areas.

She said with the inclusion of the Bole and East Mamprusi Districts in the Project, the Northern Region now had seven districts benefiting from the scheme.

Mrs. Ohene-Ampofo named the others as West Mamprusi, East Gonja, Zabzugu/Tatale, Central Gonja and West Gonja Districts.

She said there was no pre-determined budget for the beneficiary districts, instead resources for the implementation of projects depended entirely on the efforts of the Assembly and other stakeholders.

Mrs. Ohene-Ampofo stressed that one of the cardinal considerations for admitting districts into the Project was the level of poverty of the people.

She said "unless the people make efforts to learn vocational skills, start or expand their businesses and manage them well to generate income, the mere presence of the REP in the districts would not achieve much."


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