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May 9, 2012

Government to Expand REP to Cover All Assemblies

The Government has expanded the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) to cover all the 161 Municipal and District Assemblies in the country, to help accelerate growth of the rural economy to curb abject poverty.

Madam Hanna Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry, said successes chalked out by 66 rural poor communities during the phase one and two of the REP, propelled Government to extend the programme to all the districts, and urged the various assemblies to embrace it.

The Minister was opening the Zonal Start-Up and Sensitization workshop for districts in the Central, Eastern, Volta and Greater Accra Regions, at Elmina in the Central Region yesterday.

It was attended by Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs), officials of Business Advisory Centers (BACs) and the national Board for Small-Scale Enterprises and other stakeholders.

The REP is part of the Private Sector Development Strategy phase II of the Minister for Trade and Industry, introduced in the country in 1995 with two pilot projects to foster the development of sustainable corporate strategies for enterprise growth and job creation, to aid rural poverty reduction.

It is funded by the Government of Ghana, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the African Development Bank, to propel the growth of enterprises and micro-businesses at the rural level.

Madam Tetteh said that small and micro businesses when given the boost could grow and sustain the economies of the areas where they operate, and become a vital engine for the growth of the national economy.

She said small and micro businesses in the 66 districts, which benefitted from the initial project, had seen tremendous and rapid development, providing “countless job” opportunities to people living in rural areas thereby improving upon their standards of living.

Madam Tetteh asked the participating districts and municipalities to demonstrate commitment to the implementation of the programme, and ensure that it was mainstreamed into the District Assembly structure, as part of Government’s decentralization process.

She asked the MDCEs to establish offices for the smooth take off of the REP in their areas, and recruit at least two staff that would manage the office and form a sub-committee to oversee its operations.

Madam Tetteh asked the Assemblies to also establish a REP model BAC to function under the Assembly, to make accessibility to rural enterprise business services easier.

The National Programme Director of REP, Mr. Kwasi Attah-Antwi, said the Elmina workshop was the first of a series of activities, planned to cover the entire country, and added that another event would be held at Tamale for the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions, and Sunyani for the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions.

He hoped that the participants would receive information to enable them to prepare adequately for the implementation of the programme in their areas.

Source: GNA