11.06.2004 Regional News

Govt provides five billion cedis to support STEP graduates

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Kumasi, June 11, GNA - The government has set aside an initial amount of five billion cedis to be disbursed as loans to graduates who have acquired skills under the Skills Training and Employment programme (STEP).

The facility is to enable them to acquire tools and equipment for the establishment of their own businesses.

Mr Yaw Barima, Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, announced this in a speech read for him at the second graduation of 50 unemployed youth trained under the STEP at the Edwenase Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills (ICCES) in Kumasi on Friday. They were trained in food processing, textiles and soap making.

Mr Barima said the Ministry was in partnership with other stakeholders to formulate appropriate policies to stimulate industrialisation to create jobs for the unemployed youth. He said about 14,000 youth had acquired employable skills since the inception of the STEP programme.

Mr Barima said the government was committed to providing the youth with the necessary skills to enable them to contribute effectively to national development.

He appealed to district assemblies and traditional authorities to support the STEP to ensure that the youth were provided with the necessary skills needed for national development.

Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport, in an address read for him, said a total of 15 new employable skills training centres would be established and equipped through out the country this year to facilitate the activities of STEP.

The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bantama, urged the trainees to work hard and translate the newly acquired skills into productive ventures.

Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, in an address read for him, said the government would ensure creation of wealth and the eradication of poverty.

Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, pledged the assembly's support to the STEP programme and urged the trainees to take advantage of the business management programmes being offered by the assembly for self-employed persons and manage their businesses efficiently.

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