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17.09.2003 Regional News

Official says government will not go back to state enterprises

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Ho, Sept 17, GNA - The government's Rural Enterprises Development Programme (REDP) under which the 110 districts are to identify three industries each for development within three years is not an attempt to establish state enterprises under a different cloak, Mr Lawrence Prempeh, REDP National Co-ordinator, said on Wednesday.

He said the projects were envisaged largely as private sector propelled with the district assemblies as facilitators and having not more than 20 per cent equity shares.

Mr Prempeh was speaking at a workshop on the REDP in Ho, attended by regional heads of departments, officials of financial institutions and industrialists.

He said the programme is part of government's blue-print for a new industrial reform and a accelerated growth programme which includes, export oriented industrialisation and agro-processing involving mass mobilisation of people and comprehensive import substitution drive aimed at producing at least 70 per cent of non-petroleum imported goods. Mr Prempeh said other strategies involve retooling industries to enhance competitiveness; reviving potentially viable industries swamped by debt and management crises among others.

He said under the first phase of the REDP programme, all districts are to set up one industry that would begin to show results within one year.

Mr Prempeh said the Ministry of Trade, Industries and the President's Special Initiative would, through a restructured Ghana National Procurement Agency (GNPA), provide ready markets for the enterprises.

He said the ministry believed that "putting money in the pockets of people" to provide for themselves facilities such as toilets, schools and pay for electricity and water is a better way of tackling mass poverty.

Mr Prempeh said he expected District Chief Executives as managers rather than politicians to lead their districts into identifying projects and planning for their take off.

He said experts from the ministry would go round to collect data from the districts for perusal and validation for the development of business plans.

Mr Steve Selormey, Volta Regional Co-ordinating Director, said in an address read for him that though there could not be equality of people, "the huge differences in one nation where a few have wholesome water while the majority had access to only murky water is indefensible."

Mr Prosper Nukpe, Zonal Co-ordinator of the President's Special Initiatives, said all districts are to compile a list of potential individual investors, home and abroad to be contacted for negotiations to invest in the enterprises. He said some DCEs ignored promptings from his office to arrange schedules for visits in connection with the establishment of the enterprises. 17 Sept. 03

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