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22.03.2006 Regional News

Afigya-Sekyere District branch of ASSI inaugurated at Agona

By GNA

Agona (Ash), March 22, GNA - Mr Allan Kyeremateng, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has said that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for over 90 per cent of the enterprises in the economy and contribute about 60 per cent of employment and six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said it was in recognition of this that the ministry was pursuing measures, programmes and projects, which were supportive of the sector's development and growth.

These were contained in a speech read for him at the inauguration of the Afigya-Sekyere District branch of the Association of Small-Scale Industries (ASSI) and fund-raising at Agona on Tuesday.

The measures, programmes and projects, he said, include access to credit, entrepreneurship development, quality and marketing support. Mr Kyeremateng mentioned the essential elements of trade and industry sectors growth agenda as the New Industrial Reform and Accelerated Growth Programme and a new National Trade Policy. He said to effectively use the SMEs sector to develop rural areas to bring them into the mainstream of economic activity the government was pursuing a District Industrialisation Project (DIP) of which three industries are to be established in each of the 138 districts. The Trade Minister commended the Afigya-Sekyere District for having identified cassava processing into chips and pellets as one of its projects and expressed the hope that entrepreneurs in the area would rally to ensure the early realisation of the project. Mr Ben Abankwa, the District Chief Executive, said the ASSI in the district comprises 34 enterprises with a total membership of 850 including soap makers, mushroom producers, kente weavers and hairdressers.

He said the district assembly had allocated 45 million cedis to the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) to give the members more training to enhance their businesses and incomes.

Mr Kwame Buor, Ashanti Regional Chairman of ASSI, said the association had benefited from a World Bank facility of 45 million-dollar loans to the Ministry of Trade to support SMEs to expand their businesses.

He urged the members to rally behind the executives to enable them steer the affairs of the association successfully. The 10-member district executive of the association under the chairmanship of Mr Poku Afreh was sworn into office. Other members are Nana Kwarteng Amaning, vice-chairman, Mr P.K. Ampadu, secretary, Mrs Alice Kyerematen, treasurer and Mrs Hagar Amoakowaa, porter.

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