28.04.2005 Business & Finance

Trainees ask for loans to step up businesses

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Ho, April 28, GNA - A trainee under the government's Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) on Wednesday suggested that the government considered underwriting bank credits for graduates of the programme.

She said this would give vim to the programme of mopping up the large numbers of unemployed for self-employment to accelerate national development.

Miss Stella Dzadu, Course Prefect, made the suggestion at the graduation of the first batch of trainees under the STEPS programme at the Women's Training Institute in Ho.

She said while the programme had given participants confidence and made them richer in knowledge to face the world, it must go along with practical outlays to put and keep trainees in business.

Fifty-three trainees, between the ages of 15 and 35, undertook between three to six months training in hairdressing, food processing as well as soap, batik, tie and dye making.

Mr Mawutor Goh, the acting Ho Municipal Chief Executive, said as part of the Ho Municipal Assembly's policies to improve employment levels in the area last year, it provided additional infrastructure for the State Registered and Community Training schools in Ho to raise intake by about 100 per cent.

Mr Jasper Awuku Ahadzi, Manager of the North-Tongu Rural Bank, said soft loans provided by the Ministry of Manpower Development, Youth and Employment ranging between one to two million cedis was almost ready and would be given out through the bank.

Madam Bernice Aculey, the Headmistress of the Women's Training Institute, urged Ghanaians to embrace the STEPS programme to reduce unemployment.

She appealed to the government to help the Institute, which is under the Department of Community Development of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, put up staff bungalows, a dinning hall and a demonstration block.

Miss Hellen Alai, Acting Volta Regional Director of National Council on Women and Development (NCWD), expressed regret that some women trainees were forced out of the programme because of their inability to cope with transport fares to the Institute that is located about three kilometres from town.

She advised parents to endeavour to support their children in hard times, wondering how the drop-outs could come by these opportunity for free skills training again.

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