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01.08.2004 Regional News

Ministry allocates 8.5 billion cedis to fishmongers

By GNA

Kumasi, Aug 1,GNA- The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs has allocated 8.5 billion cedis from the HIPC relief fund for disbursement to fishmongers and traders. The Ministry had also disbursed about 55 billion cedis to over 120,000 women throughout the country as micro credit loans and cost of agro-processing machines since 2000.

Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, Deputy Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, who announced this, named beneficiaries of the fund as food crop farmers, fishmongers, agro-processors and traders who traditionally produce, process and distribute staple foods. He was launching "Adepa Business Savings Account" and the opening of the Kumasi main branch of Women's World Banking Ghana, a savings and loans company limited in Kumasi on Friday.

Mr Poku-Adusei said the initial fund of about 21 billion cedis was disbursed to over 63,000 women organised groups. " The first phase was so successful that the government decided to go for a second phase of the programme. The Japanese Government readily provided a grant of over 26 billion cedis to the fund to support the government", he said.

The Deputy Minister said gari processing machines, shea butter processing machines, groundnut extraction machines and other agro processing machines had been acquired and delivered to women groups, especially in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to assist them in their economic activities. Mr Poku-Adusei said statistics show that over 25 percent of the population, which is the country's vital human resource were women. It is therefore necessary for government to adequately support women for them to give of their best.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Van Lare Dosoo, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), noted that the launching of the product was a further demonstration of the Women's World Banking Limited to reposition itself and offer first class services to customers. He said BoG had continually pursued policies aimed at reducing money outside the banking system, pointing out that large cash holdings outside the banking system puts inflationary pressures on the economy and weakens the effectiveness of monetary policy management.

Mr Dosoo therefore, called for more vigorous deposit mobilisation efforts by the banks, savings and loans companies. The Deputy Governor of BoG said the financial sector had a responsibility to make serious efforts to deepen financial intermediation through innovative financial instruments and products to suit the needs of the general public.

Madam Paulina A. Dsani, Executive Director of Women's World Banking Ghana, said the bank decided to help women who are their clients and customers with the assistance of the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ). She explained that the 'Adepa Account' had the features and advantages of current and savings account, adding that it is a savings account operated by issuing cheques as is done in the commercial banks. Madam Dsani said the product allows the customer to have instant access to their funds on every business day and during all normal working hours through the use of cheques.

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