Ajumako (C/R), Oct 07, GNA - Mr Joseph Adda, the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, has stressed the determination of the government to ensure the growth of small enterprises to enhance poverty reduction.
He said hitherto, very little had been done to support the informal sector that is estimated to employ about 80 per cent of the working population.
The Minister said this when he opened a national ''stakeholders forum on the informal economy'' under the ILO/ Ghana Decent Work Pilot Program (GDWPP), dubbed "Ghana working out of poverty." It is part of preparations towards the Presidential Employment Summit.
The GDWPP, which was instituted in 2003, is being piloted in the country in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam and Awutu-Efutu-Senya districts. It is geared towards contributing to the achievement of the national priority goals of poverty reduction through the promotion of decent work in the sector and it will be replicated in 40 more districts next year.
The overall program is in two components and involves building capacities of social partners to influence and promote the incorporation of decent work into the GPRS at the national level and at the district level.
The District Chief executives for the two districts, Mr Kenneth Obempong, the District Chief Executive for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam and Mr Solomon Abban Quaye, the District Chief Executive for Awutu-Efutu-Senya, briefed the forum about the assistance to small businesses since the GDWPP.
Mr Obempong said 200 small business associations, each with an average membership of 25, have received training in business management and resource mobilization and the process of recapitalization. He said members of the associations would receive the equivalent of 30,000 dollars from the ILO/GDWPP for recapitalization and are also to benefit from a total of 2 billion cedis from the National Micro Finance Centre of the office of the President.
The assembly has set aside 150 million cedis as its counterpart funding to promote the activities of the sub- committee on productive and gainful employment (SPGE) which has been set up to facilitate the program in the area and plans to set up an ICT business information centre.
Mr Quaye said the district would receive a similar support of 30,000 dollars and that the assembly was supporting the work of the SPGE with 100 millions this year. Mr Isaac Edumadze, the Central Regional Minister, underscored the importance of the informal sector and said most Ghanaians sought employment in the public sector to the detriment of the informal sector.
He called for an educational campaign on benefits of employment in the informal sector and tasked district assemblies in the region to provide data on the unemployment rate in their areas and to design action plans to address the situation.