Tamale, Feb. 13, GNA - The Rural Enterprise Project (REP) has since 2003, disbursed more than three billion cedis, as credit to 583 small-scale entrepreneurs, of which, 54 per cent are women. The project through its integrated package of technology transfer, business management and entrepreneurial training and credit delivery, also contributed either directly or indirectly to the creation of about 12,000 new jobs during the period.
Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, National Project Coordinator of the REP disclosed this on Wednesday at a one-day orientation seminar in Tamale for the leadership of new participating District Assemblies in the project.
Mr Attah-Antwi said the project envisaged to enrol 13 new participating districts this year to be made up of four districts in the Tamale Zone, three districts in the Kumasi Zone and six districts in the Koforidua Zone.
The four districts in the Tamale zone are: West Gonja, Central Gonja, Garu-Tumpane in the Upper East Region and Jirapa/Lambussie in the Upper West Region.
About 40 participating districts are direct beneficiaries of the project services throughout the country.
District Chief Executives from the four districts in the Tamale Zone District Coordinating Directors and officials of the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI) attended the forum. The Seminar was aimed at sensitizing the leadership of the new participating districts on the project concepts, objectives, components and implementation strategies.
It also sought to build the capacity of the participating district assemblies to own and support the implementation of the project activities efficiently in the long-term and thereby enhance their expected impact.
Mr Attah-Antwi said the project had also facilitated the transformation of 8,000 previously distressed or loss-making enterprises into profit-making ones, while the average survival rate of the enterprises supported by the project ranged from 30 per cent to 100 per cent.
He expressed the hope that one of the outcomes of the seminar would be the establishment of District Implementation Committees (DICs) to network among the various regions.
Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister was hopeful that the REP would not just address the issue of poverty but act as a "catalyst for unleashing the economic power of our rural people through the provision of basic skills in business management, technology transfer, provision of financial services and market linkages". He said the establishment of the DICs would allow the District Assemblies to assign their technical staff clear-cut responsibilities, revolving around participatory planning and monitoring, as well as the gradual mainstreaming of the REP activities within the larger framework of the decentralized government system.
He, therefore, urged the DCEs to ensure that the DICs, when formed played their roles efficiently to ensure sustainability of the project gains.