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27.08.2004 Regional News

ICU initiates programme to make informal sector viable

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Kumasi, Aug. 27, GNA - The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has initiated a programme designed not only at organising and making business groups in the informal sector more viable but also affiliating them to the ICU.

Mr Gilbert A. Awinogya, Deputy General Secretary in-charge of operation of the ICU, who announced this said since the inception of the programme in 1991, the ICU had succeeded in re-organising and transforming five business entities in the informal sector into functional and more viable groups under the union.

"Employees of the five business groups were also given various skills and capacity building training by the ICU, which has made them more profit-oriented than before the intervention of the union," he added.

Mr Awinogya announced this when he addressed the closing of a two-day workshop organised for groups of the ICU in the informal sector of the economy in Kumasi on Friday.

60 participants from various business concerns in the informal sector throughout the country attended the workshop, which was organised by the ICU.

It was aimed at creating a platform for the ICU to evaluate and assess the achievements and weaknesses of the various informal groupings that had benefited from assistance and training from the ICU.

The five small-scale industrial and business groupings, which have already been organised and affiliated to the ICU include hairdressers, batik tie and dye makers, domestic workers, weaving and leather trade workers and barbers and barbering salon owners.

The Deputy General Secretary of the ICU said the union ventured into the informal sector because the union saw it as an obligation to protect, assist and facilitate their work to ensure success, "since these are our very members who only got into the informal sector as a result of retrenchment and close down of larger companies and industries in which they previously worked".

Mr Awinogya, however, appealed to metro, municipal and district assemblies to consider granting the associations affiliated to the ICU the right to act as agents to collect revenue on their behalf instead of the use of revenue collection taskforces.

He said the use of such groupings and associations affiliated to the union would guarantee an increase in revenue collection to the assemblies rather than engaging the taskforces. 27 Aug. 04

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