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24.03.2006 Regional News

Agona District Assembly disburses poverty alleviation

By GNA

Agona Swedru, March 24, GNA- The Agona Disteict Assembly has disbursed a total of 381,195,806 million cedis to various productive groups and individuals under the poverty alleviation fund to improve their businesses.

A total of 245,954,826 million cedis out of the amount has so far been recovered from the loan beneficiaries Mr. Ben Mensah, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Agona disclosed this at a poverty alleviation forum to sensitise the first batch of the groups and individuals who received their share of the scheme at Swedru. A total of 169 million cedis was disbursed to groups and individuals from east and west constituencies of the district. He said 80 million has already been disbursed to about 10 poultry farmers in the district to improve the poultry industry.

The DCE also presented four cassava processing machines to four groups in the district to boost gari production so as to reduce poverty among farmers. Mrs Diana Anaman and Mrs Henlina Eyeson group leaders received the machines on behalf of their groups.

Mr. Mensah urged the groups and individuals to change their attitudes from the perception that the credit from the District Assemblies are "free funds or political money".

The DCE expressed concern about the low recovery rate which has seriously undermined the sustainability of the scheme in the district.

He pointed out again that the scheme was meant to benefit as many people as possible to avert the threat of its total collapse as result of this low recovery rate. The DCE said the Agona District Assembly, in collaboration with the two financial institutions Agona Rural Bank and Nyakrom Rural Bank had adopted strategies to ward off low recovery.

He stated that District Assembly has shifted from individual application to membership of groups and associations, adding that the assembly has adopted social collateral strategy whereby individual of the group will guarantee for each other to serve as peer pressure for the fast recovery of loans. Mr Isaac Tetteh, District Economic Development Planning Officer said the assembly has put in place a taskforce to scrutinize applicants before loans are granted.

He said the Assembly has also instituted training programmes for loan beneficiaries in financial management and skill training, adding that financial assistance is being looked from the Netherlands Development Organizations and others for support training.

Mr Tetteh said the assembly has identified 157 individuals to benefit under the loan disbursement scheme.

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