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15.02.2006 Business & Finance

600 SMEs to be transformed through SIF projects

By GNA

Sekondi, Feb 15, GNA - At least 600 urban small-scale enterprises with high employment-generation potential would be assisted to become medium enterprises nationwide this year.

Additionally, private sector desk officers and procurement officers would be established in metropolitan and municipal assemblies to facilitate public and private sector participation in poverty reduction. Madam Ama Serwaa Dapaah, the Executive Director of the Social Investment Fund (SIF), said this at a day's district sensitisation workshop organised by the SIF in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development on Urban Poverty Reduction Project (UPRP at Sekondi on Monday.

She said the African Development Bank, through a loan facility, had extended SIF's activities for another five years with a loan of 37.5 million dollars while the Government of Ghana contributed 4.17 million dollars.

Madam Dapaah said semi-urban poverty reduction programme, which operates within the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), would target Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ho, Agogo, Akim Oda, Apam, Kasoa, Koforidua, Swedru, Tema and Wenchi.

The focus of the strategy is to enable Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to perform their responsibilities with regard to urban socio-economic development.

"The MMDAs will be responsible for implementing, coordinating and managing the projects at the local levels and will also be required to create a Local Project Implementing Agency (LPIA)."

Madam Dapaah said the project and the MMDAs needed to target street children, female-headed households and orphans through a harmonised and strategic approach to include them in poverty reduction strategies. Mrs Elisabeth Abena Nkrumah, Western Regional Director of the SIF, said the project demanded communities to contribute through communal labour and appealed to assemblies to educate their communities on the importance of the projects.

She said the projects were demand driven and communities that provide resources through manual labour are likely to get more projects. Mr Philip K. Nkrumah, the Chief Executive of the Shama Ahanta East Metropolis, said assembly members must take advantage of the projects by educating their communities to access them.

He said the projects, if well organised, could create more employment opportunities and reduce rural-urban migration.

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