Business News of Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Source: GNA

Japanese government supports six districts in Upper East Region

Six District Assemblies (DAs) in the Upper East Region is to benefit from a US$3,000,000 grant under the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) by September 2012, for income generating activity groups and the underprivileged.

The beneficiary districts include Bongo, Talensi- Nabdam, Builsa, Bawku West, Kassena Nankana West and Garu- Tempane Districts.

This was contained in a press release signed by Mr. Peter Atogewe Wedam, Acting Public Relations Officer of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in Bolgatanga on Wednesday.

According to the release, the grant comes to complement the World Bank (WB) funded Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) and would be piloted over a three year period for under privileged groups in the selected districts, to help the people to establish or boost existing income generation activities.

Dr. Naotaka Sawada, Senior Rural Private Sector Development Specialist at the WB; in a presentation, said the Japanese government would fund 80 per cent of the project through the WB and the District Assemblies (DAs) would be expected to support with 20 per cent through their revolving fund with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) that would serve as a major local partner.

Mr. Sawada said 3,500 beneficiaries and 90 associations have been estimated to benefit from the JSDF project for the pilot duration, including basket weavers, shea butter producers, local associations as well as the very poor individuals as targets of the project.

He disclosed that operational manual for the implementation would be derived from stakeholder meetings similar to the one held in the region and called for closer collaboration between the RCC and DAs.

Mr. Samuel Forson, Rural Development Specialist of the WB said a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) would be prepared and signed with beneficiary districts on behalf of the Local Government Ministry and the Project Management when discussions with stakeholders were finalized.

He said during the implementation of the intervention, relevant consultants, NBSSI and Department of Cooperatives (DoCs) would provide technical assistance and training for beneficiaries.

Mrs Lucy Awuni, Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, who chaired the meeting attended by the project consultants from the World Bank, National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), District Chief Executives (DCEs) from the beneficiary districts and other stakeholders, tasked the DCEs to put in place desk officers at the various district assemblies to manage the grant effectively.

She urged that proper awareness creation be created on the ideals of the intervention for people in the region to appreciate and accept it.

She also entreated the DCEs to hold stakeholder meetings in readiness for the project and urged them to select viable groups while taking care to avoid duplication where individuals and groups would benefit from more than one of similar interventions in the districts.

She appealed to the financiers to extend the intervention to cover all the remaining districts in the region.

Mr. Norbert Awulley, DCE for Builsa, asked the districts to support with contingency allocation in their budgets to the project since the DAs existed primarily to better the lives of people.**