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25.05.2004 Regional News

Govt releases 900 million cedis for poverty reduction in W/R.

By GNA

Takoradi, May 25, GNA -The government has released a total of 900 million cedis for its Micro Loan Project for farmers, fishermen, artisans and agro-processors in the Western Region under the Social Investment Fund (SIF).

The funds were meant to assist them to expand their businesses, create wealth and reduce the high levels of poverty in the society. Mrs. Elisabeth Abena Nkrumah, Western Regional Officer of the SIF disclosed these at Takoradi on Tuesday at a capacity building workshop for 30 Trainers of Skills Development Sub-Project.

She said the Jomoro, Lower Prah, Amenfiman, Kaaseman, Bia Torya and Ahantaman Rural Banks, are the implementing agencies of the project. Mrs Nkrumah said between March and May this year, the Lower Prah Rural bank had disbursed 650 million cedis of their own internal funds to 361 people who fall within the SIF selected group.

"All these interventions were aimed at reducing poverty, create wealth among the citizenry," she added.

Mrs Nkrumah said the government had since May 22, this year, released 15 million cedis to each of the nine districts in which the SIF operates in the region, to prepare poverty maps and pro-poor programmes to facilitate the government's poverty reduction programmes.

She stressed that the maps would assist the SIF to easily identify the rural poor and assist them to develop some basic infrastructure, to improve their livelihoods.

Mrs Nkrumah said some communities have been provided with certain infrastructure they did not need, while those who need them most have been denied such infrastructure due to the absence of poverty maps.

The SIF Regional Officer said so far 87 million cedis had been released for the Skills Training Programme (STP) as sponsorship for 62 boys and girls within the Shama Ahanta East Metropolis.

Mrs Nkrumah said out of the number, six are yet to begin their apprenticeship, adding that, the STP initiated by the government, is one of its poverty reduction initiatives.

She appealed to the trainers, to ensure that the apprentices receive the requisite skills that would empower them for the future. Mr. Samuel K. Thompson, acting programme manager of the Takoradi Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (OIC) said the trainers were expected to assist the SIF and the government to achieve its targets. He said, trainers should develop their own methodologies to make the skill straining effective, interesting and relevant to the job market.

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