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Sun, Dec

MASLOC WILL GIVE 50% OF LOANS TO WOMEN President Akufo-Addo

Business & Economy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has disclosed that the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre programme has been directed to disburse 50 per cent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and business.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has disclosed that the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre programme has been directed to disburse 50 per cent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and business.

 

According to him, the government has also activated a concerted policy of strengthening the capacity of local businesses by ensuring that 70 per cent of all government-funded contracts or projects are awarded to local contractors.

“Out of this, initially 30 per cent of the contracts or projects are being awarded to women. Again, through the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, our flagship agricultural initiative, 500,000 farmers, as opposed to 200,000 last year, are this year covered by this programme, which seeks to enhance agricultural productivity through the provision of improved seedlings, subsidised fertilisers and extension officers to farmers,” the President said yesterday, addressing the maiden Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit at the Mövenpick Hotel in Accra.

The President observed that as there are more women farmers in Ghana than men, it is certain that more women will become involved in the programme.

“Women’s empowerment has been given a tremendous boost by the implementation of our Free Senior High School policy,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He added: “Last year, 90,000 more students, the majority of whom were girls, entered senior high school, than in 2016. Our educational reforms are encompassing also the scaling up of technical and vocational education training, which will benefit many young girls, to equip our youth with the skills necessary for the construction of a modern economy.”

Female entrepreneurs have become an important part of the entrepreneurial landscape, the President noted. He cited figures from the National Board for Small-Scale Industries which indicate that 44 per cent of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are owned by women.

“Women’s economic empowerment is one of the world’s most promising areas of investment, with almost instant results: i.e. the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty and widespread unemployment,” President Akufo-Addo said.

The entrepreneurship summit, on the theme “Ghanaian Women Entrepreneurs: From Voices to Action”, brought together policymakers, female innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges hindering the growth and profitability of their businesses.

President Akufo-Addo mentioned that, since it assumed the reins of power, his administration had been making strenuous efforts to bring women into the political and economic decision-making process.

“Thus far, we have thrown our full weight behind the HeForShe campaign and the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa, an initiative stemming from my position as the African Union’s Gender Champion. Summits such as these, which are aimed at focusing the attention of the nation on issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, are clearly important, and the organisers are to be commended,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals offer the present generation a historic opportunity to eradicate poverty and hunger globally, insist on access to education for all, address the challenges of gender equality and environmental sustainability and achieve quantum leaps in the economic well-being of millions of people.

“Nonetheless, over the past decade, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased considerably. Be they in agro-processing, creative arts, textile or clothing design, the financial or trading sectors, women entrepreneurs have become an important part of the entrepreneurial landscape,” he said.

He stressed that the NPP government firmly believed that competition among enterprises in the agricultural, manufacturing and ICT sectors would determine Ghana’s capacity to create wealth for women and the society at large.

“The competitiveness of Ghana’s private sector is key to addressing issues of inclusion, economic development and growth in Ghana. That is the only way we can build a Ghana Beyond Aid ‒ that is, freeing our people from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts, and building a self-reliant economy which will mobilise the immense resources of Ghana, material and human, with women and youth in the forefront, to resolve Ghana’s problems. That is the focus of my government.”

The President said the NPP government had begun to restructure the NBSSI and that soon, Ghanaians will see an institution with renewed drive, providing first-class enterprise development services to MSMEs.

“It will co-ordinate all programmes designed to integrate the MSMEs into agricultural and industrial value chains with market linkages to investment opportunities, being promoted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, under our flagship One District, One Factory initiative, and other industrial initiatives, and by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the programme of Planting for Food and Jobs,” he said.


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