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22.07.2003 Regional News

Ministry to give credit facility to women

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Ho, July 22, GNA - About 3,000 women in the Volta Region can access a 1.8 billion cedi credit facility by the end of this month. Mr. David Aidoo, Co-coordinator of Women's Development Fund of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at a workshop for 50 women at Ho on Monday. The workshop to build their capacity in micro-enterprises management was under the theme, "Empowering Women for Effective Business Management, Good Nutrition and Sound Reproductive Health".

The two-day workshop was organised by the Women's World Banking Ghana (WWBG) with sponsorship from the United Nations Systems Programme for Promoting Gender Equality in Ghana and facilitators from the Aurora Business Network. He said women from verifiable thriving businesses, including fish processing and farming would benefit from the facility to increase their incomes.

Mr. Aidoo said the management of the fund in consultation with district assemblies would regulate its disbursement to enable beneficiaries to derive maximum benefit from the credit to ensure the growth of their businesses. He conceded that credit was "a shade late" for those in farming ventures and attributed the delay to the "painstaking" procedural processes for approval.

Mr. Aidoo said the Ministry established the special credit line for women, apart from the existing ones, to introduce and encourage them to save with banks. He said it had negotiated preferential terms, such as lower limits for opening savings accounts for women.

Mrs. Paulina Dsani, Executive Director of WWBG, said the objective of the workshops was to inculcate the habit of saving and to encourage women to expand their businesses. She said WWBG was established at the instance of the late industrialist, Dr Esther Ocloo, who after completing Achimota School, failed on merit to secure a bank loan to develop a business and started the move for a special bank for women.

Mrs. Joana Opare, National Programme Officer of the United Nations Systems Programme for Promoting Gender Equality, noted that any development strategy, which did not take the special needs of women into account, was bound to fail. She urged women to tap their management skills that kept many homes going on paltry housekeeping money, to develop their businesses and to desist from frivolous spending on clothes, funerals and other social commitments.

Mr. Mawutor Goh, Ho District Chief Executive (DCE) said the objectives of the workshop were in line with the government's policy of making the private sector the pivot of economic development. He advised the women to save especially with Rural Banks to enable the financial institutions to develop services to meet their special needs. Mr. Goh pledged the support of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Ho District Assembly to support women in micro business. Similar workshop by WWBG, which considers clients for loans after six months, would be held at Hohoe and Kpando.

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