President Akufo-Addo under the Ministry of Business Development and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) has presented GHC200 million to 1,000 physically challenged men under the Presidential Empowerment for Male Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEMED).
Themed “Financial Inclusion for Male Entrepreneurs with Disability” the programme is aimed at enhancing the entrepreneurial capacity of men to enable them contribute to economic development as well as create access to finance and employment opportunities.
The PEMED programme comes after the implementation of the Presidential Empowerment for Women Entrepreneurs with Disability (PEWED) launched last year, which currently is supporting 1000 physically challenged women and has created 280 direct and indirect jobs.
In his keynote address, President Nana Akufo-Addo said government is committed to building an inclusive society where the circumstances of one’s birth is not a barrier to productively contributing to the nation’s economic development.
The president revealed that: “50% of the financial support offered are grants and the other 50% are interest-free loans payable over a 2-year period. The Ministry for Business Development will continue to provide training, mentorship, guidance as well as business advisory services for business continuity.”
President Akufo-Addo advised the beneficiaries to strictly observe all the COVID-19 prevention protocols in order to continue to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the launch, the beneficiaries underwent an intensive training in financial management, business development, business management and risk assessment to aid them in the growth and development of their various businesses.
On his part, Minister for Business Development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal noted that his ministry is committed to creating a sustainable and most business-friendly and business enabling environment that fosters private sector-led investment for job creation and livelihoods.
“We also seek to promote the entrepreneurial capacity of the youth and the disabled as well as nurture, build and promote indigenous Ghanaian businesses.”
He noted that through this initiative, male entrepreneurs with disabilities will not only contribute to job creation but will also support efforts at creating wealth and improving livelihoods.
Beneficiaries for the maiden edition of the PEMED initiative were made up of barbers, tailors & designers, Shoe makers & cobblers as well as male entrepreneurs in the trade and commerce industry.
In her remarks, Madam Rita Kusi Kyeremeh from the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations expressed her profound gratitude to the President as well as the Ministry of Business Development for their unwavering support to the physically challenged community.
“Persons with disability have limited access to finance and employment opportunities yet they have the productive capacity to work and take care of themselves. We are always ready to partner government in the inclusion agenda.”
Also present for the launch was Gender Minister, Madam Cynthia Morrison who said that: “The Sustainable Development Goals for 2020 dwells on the theme “Leave No One Behind” and government is promoting the use of digital platforms to create financial inclusion.”
She acknowledged the challenges that disabled persons face especially in the area of access to finance and applauded the Ministry of Business Development for birthing such an initiative.