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Regional News of Friday, 25 August 2006

Source: GNA

MSEs would alleviate urban and rural poverty - MCE

Tema, Aug. 25, GNA - Mr David Quaye Annang, Tema Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) on Thursday, observed that Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises (MSEs) had the potential for the future growth of both employment and incomes, as well as the alleviation of urban and rural poverty in the country.

Presenting a paper at a day's workshop dubbed: "Media and Small Scale Entrepreneurs' Dialogue" in Tema, Mr Annang stated that MSEs had long been identified as the means through which rapid industrialization and other development goals of the nation could be realized. It was organised by the Ghana Journalists' Association (GJA) as part of the Associations' initiative under the project "Using the Media to promote small scale business concerns," launched by the Vice President in May this year.

The workshop sponsored by the Business Advisory Centre (BUSAC), and attended by more than 30 representatives from MSEs within the Municipality, was aimed at providing the media and small scale operators the opportunity to obtain firsthand information on policy initiatives put in place by the Tema Municipal Assembly and the Tema Development Corporation, to deal with concerns of small scale enterprises. Mr Annang, whose topic was: "The Role of TMA in the Promotion of MSEs" noted with satisfaction that by its mission and vision, TMA existed to improve the quality of life of people in the Municipality, through the provision of essential services and the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable development.

He stated that the Assembly would continue to provide funds for certain basic health programmes such as malaria control and annual immunization exercises.

Touching on activities of SMEs within the Municipality, the MCE conceded that the activities of these vital operators were rather not very effectively organised. He said their members were such that the available spaces within the industrial and central business areas were very inadequate.

This, Mr Annang said, had therefore, resulted in serious overcrowding in these business centres.

The MCE noted with dissatisfaction that these operators disregarded the assembly's bye-laws on the citing of businesses, and pointed out that this posed the biggest challenge to the assembly in its development control efforts.

"The rate at which these small scale enterprises spring up calls for a collective effort of all and sundry - residents and the media, to be part of the vanguard to eradicate these unfortunate phenomena." Mr David Abrokwa, Director of Development at the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), who stood in for the Managing Director, whose topic was: "The Role of TDC in the Promotion of MSEs," said the corporation was running out of land, due to acute demand by developers. The unfortunate situation, Mr Abrokwa said, had compelled TDC to put up sheds and rented them out to medium scale industries to facilitate their activities within the municipality.

Mr Bright Blewu, General Secretary of GJA stated that the difficulties in land acquisition for business purposes coupled with the "unfriendly business regulations and decisions" of some Assemblies, were among the findings of a survey GJA conducted in May this year. These concerns, he said, were identified as a major headache for the MSEs.

Mr Kwasi Afriyie Badu, of the KAB Governance Consult, facilitators of the workshop, who chaired the function, hoped the GJA project would enable the media to effectively bring to the fore the concerns of small scale business entrepreneurs for workable solutions.