President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented GH¢2 million to 1,000 disabled men entrepreneurs, under the Presidential Empowerment for Male Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEMED).
A similar package was given to female disabled entrepreneurs in 2019 to improve their businesses and to empower them financially.
Launching the event at Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency, last Friday, President Akufo-Addo stated that the funds would provide some relief, and also empower persons with disabilities to improve their economic circumstances.
“You, the beneficiaries, have already undergone training in areas such as financial management, business management, risks, marketing, and operations. It is expected that you will be guided by the structured training you have undergone, to enable you scale-up your businesses, and create job opportunities for people.
“Fifty percent (50%) percent of the financial support on offer today are grants, whilst the other fifty percent (50%) are interest free loans payable over two years. This is a demonstration of Government’s commitment to empower financially the one thousand (1,000) beneficiaries of this initiative, and help mainstream them into national economic activity”, President Akufo-Addo added.
He stressed that the Ministry of Business Development, through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), will continue to provide mentorship, training, and monitoring, to ensure the successful execution of the businesses of the 1,000 beneficiaries.
Recounting how Government, in 2019, provided similar funding to 1,000 disabled women entrepreneurs, President Akufo-Addo stated that within a year, 850 disabled women entrepreneurs received financial support and training to build-up their capacity, and enhance their competitiveness under the Presidential Empowerment for Women Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEWED).
The remaining 150 are due to be given support within the next two months.
As a result of this intervention, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that through the PEWED initiative, “the beneficiary entrepreneurs have been able to expand their businesses, and have created about two hundred and eighty (280) direct and indirect job opportunities for Ghanaians.”
As co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the President noted that the initiative to provide funding to disabled male and female entrepreneurs is in line with SDG Nos. 1, 4, 5, 8 and 10, which relate to poverty reduction, quality education, inclusion, and equal opportunity amongst others.
“Government is committed to building an inclusive society in which every citizen has the opportunity to develop his or her God-given talent to the full, where the circumstances of one’s birth are not barriers to a citizen’s participation in the process of national development,” he added.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the policies and programmes introduced by Government, since 2017, have been geared towards enhancing the productive capacity of all Ghanaians, enabling them to contribute meaningfully to the nation’s social and economic transformation.
Citing examples such as the Free Senior High School policy, the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, One District One Factory policy, and the One Village One Dam policy, he stated that these are some of such initiatives, aimed at improving the lives of the citizenry, and helping to develop a knowledge-based society to make Ghanaians globally competitive.
With the ceremony taking place against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, whose rapid spread has wrought devastation to all the economies of the world, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the pandemic notwithstanding, Government is determined to revive and reinvigorate the economy.
“But we will do so in safety. So, as you go about your business activities, remember to observe the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols to help us defeat the pandemic. I charge all of you to go out there, and make us proud,” he added.