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28.06.2004 Regional News

Over 150,000 youth benefits from STEP

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Sunyani, June 28, GNA - Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister announced over the weekend that over 150,000 youth nationwide have benefited from the Skills Training and Employment Programme (STEP) established to ensure employment generation for unskilled youth. Government would continue to put in place pragmatic policies and measures to ensure that every Ghanaian within the economically active labour force is gainfully employed, he said.

Nana Seinti said this in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of the Women In Small Business Association (WISBA) in Sunyani He said the government believes that industrialization particularly the development of small, medium and cottage industries would take people "out of extreme deprivation and the vicious cycle of poverty". Nana Seinti stated that the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategic document encourages innovative spirit of medium and small-scale enterprise to contribute substantially to reduce the high unemployment rate and the growth of the economy.

He said that government in pursuance of this objective has through various agencies established several micro credit schemes to assist small and medium scale operators, especially women to establish and expand their businesses to earn enough for the upkeep of their household.

Nana Seinti added that this would also ensure the growth of the local economies and help reduce abject poverty from their communities. He mentioned bargaining power, skills in planning management, marketing, quality assurance, funds to expand business and gender equity in trade and absence of producers movement to speak for changes in politics and activities as some of the setbacks that affect activities of small and medium scale enterprises.

Nana Seinti was of the hope that WISBA would take advantage of programmes and strategies put in place by the government to pursue the interest of women to fight poverty.

He urged WISBA to encourage the building of the capacity of members through training in marketing, management and information technology to enable them expand their operations and increase their market share. Mr. Edward Asare, Programme Manager of WISBA said the Association, which has a total membership of 90 women, started a year ago to train women in business developmental services to enhance their skills in expanding their businesses.

He said the Association also aims at empowering women economically to eliminate poverty and to improve their livelihood as well as members of their families in addition to keeping them abreast with emerging issues such as AIDS and home management.