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03.02.2005 General News

Informal sector to receive boost to thrive - JAK

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Accra, Feb. 3, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday announced that the Government would deliver special financial assistance and capacity building packages to the Private Sector, especially small-size enterprises, in all fields as part of the agenda of his second term in office.

Private Sector Development is one of his three-pronged strategies to foster a just, humane and prosperous nation. Human Resource Development and Good Governance are the other elements. Delivering the State of the Nation Address to Parliament, President Kufuor said though the informal sector, made up of small businesses, constituted the largest area in the Private Sector, most of the operators were unregulated; had limited capacity and were unable to keep up with the pace of modern trends.

"It is, therefore, necessary for the State to fashion out a plan to discover and incorporate this part of the Private Sector into the formal economy," he stressed.

"The importance of this informal sector is in the fact that it encompasses a host of activities including agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, construction, music and entertainment.... The successful reform of the sector should have a major and far reaching impact on development of our society and economy."

In line with this, President Kufuor said basic programmes would be introduced aimed at sensitising the operators to embrace basic disciplines such as bookkeeping, banking and other entrepreneurial skills.

A Department in the Ministry of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, he said, would facilitate the training programmes, adding that the National Identification Exercise, which would start in the year, would aid the project.

On funding, which he identified as the main impediment of the Sector, he said the micro-financing scheme set up by the Government would be decentralised to benefit those at the grassroots level. In addition to guaranteeing specific loans, the Government would encourage financial institutions and create pragmatic schemes to the benefit of the sector.

"In furtherance of this, the Long-Term Savings Law and the Venture Capital Law have been passed," he recalled, and thanked development partners such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Department for International Development (DFID) of Britain and the European Union (EU) for their contribution in that area.

President Kufuor said the President's Special Initiatives on Sorghum, Salt, Cotton and Maize would be given attention in addition to providing tractors and irrigation schemes to boost agriculture in general.

He also revealed policies and programmes to be executed under the human resource development and good governance and called for the cooperation of all to make it successful.

A cross-section of society, including representatives from the public and private institutions, the Diplomatic Community, civil society groups and traditional councils were in the House to listen to the Address that received a standing ovation. 03 Feb. 05

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