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Gov’t spends $8.58m on Business Resource Centers nationwide

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The Government, through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP), is establishing Business Resource Centers (BRCs) in selected districts and municipalities across the country.

The Centres will promote the government’s industrialisation agenda like the One-District One-Factory (1D1F).

The construction for 37 BRCs is currently underway in selected districts nationwide at an estimated cost of $8.58 million, covering the cost of infrastructure and equipment.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeramaten, said this when he presented Toyota Hilux and Nissan Hardbody pickups to 37 BRCs, Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI) and other implementing units of the Rural Enterprises Programme in Kumasi.

“So when at the beginning of our term of office I instructed that we must convert the Business Advisory Centers (BAC) to Business Resource Centers (BRC), it was not just for cosmetic purposes, it was to signal the fact that we need a stronger institutional mechanism to support the kind of enterprise level activities that are going to emerge at the district level, that is why we have these business resource centres,” the Minister said.

The Business Resource Centres, formerly Business Advisory Centres, were established in 1995 by the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) and National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), the Business Advisory Centers (BACs).

Now Business Resource Centers, they will have a bigger mandate to promote and support the national industrialization agenda.

It will become a One-Stop-Shop Business Development and Investment Hubs in the selected districts to support its Industrialization Agenda, including 1D1F.

Again, it will serve as information repositories, which will provide a full range of world-class business development services to potential and existing entrepreneurs at the district level, particularly those linked to the 1D1F initiative.

Parliament has approved additional funding of $40 million for the Rural Enterprises Programme, part of which will be used for the establishing of 30 additional BRCs.

Mr Kyerematen explained the BRCs are expected to assist and support the various business promoters who are establishing the district factories under 1D1F.

“The BRCs will offer support services to contribute to the One-District-One Factory initiative, including adopting a more transformative approach to strategicallyintegrating rural informal smallholder raw material supply base into corporate entities along various commodity value chains that have been identified to be relevant the 1D1F projects.

“It would also serve as the intermediaries to facilitate the organisation and establishment of the relationship between various actors in these value chains,” he said.

Mr Kyerematen explained that the BRCs will play a key role in Government’s industrialisation agenda and job creation efforts.

It is part of the process to re-align the Rural Enterprises Programme which seeks to transform the 161 advisory centres.

“So if you can imagine within the next two years all our 254 districts will have the benefits of newly constructed equipped business resource centres then, I think Ghanaians will begin to understand that this government is serious about developing the private sector at the district level to help us address this challenge of unemployment.”

The vehicles are to complement other resources to be made available to the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies.

National Director of the Rural Enterprise Programme, Kwasi Attah-Antwi, says the move will enhance operations of the BRCs which will operate under the National Board for Small-Scale Industries.

“We envisage that the provision of these vehicles today marks the beginning of active operationalization of the BRCs concept at the 37 districts and municipalities and we count on the leadership of the NBSSI to make this effective”, he said.

Mr Attah-Antwy revealed offices being constructed at the various offices are at various stages of completion and will be commissioned hopefully by the first quarter next year.

“So we urge the district assemblies to provide support to ensure the best use of these resources in the district,” said Mr Attah-Antwy.

Executive Director of National Board on Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Kosi Yankey, says it signifies the beginning of the new relationship, a relationship between the NBSSI, the REP and the MMDAs.

She believes the BRCs will be a great opportunity to strengthen the rural economy within the various beneficiary districts.

“We will work with the beneficiary MMDA’s to ensure that you do and work together and strengthen the local economy. This is the beginning of a strengthened and renewed relationship,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, called on the beneficiary districts to ensure the vehicles are well maintained.

The 37 District and Municipalities where the BRCs are currently being constructed are:

Ahafo Ano South West, Asante Akim Central Municipal, Atwima Nwabiagya Municipal, Obuasi Municipal, Sekyere East District, Sekyere South, Ejisu Municipal in the Ashanti Region; Asunafo North Municipal, Atebubu-Amantin Municipal, Dormaa Central Municipal, Tano South Municipal, Techiman Municipal in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Others are Agona West Municipal, Assin Fosu Municipal, Awutu Senya District, and Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Municipal of the Central Region; Asuogyaman District, East Akim Municipal and Kwaebibirem Municipal of the Eastern Region; and Ada East District, and Weija Gbawe Municipal in the Greater Accra Region.

The rest are Sagnerigu Municipal, West Gonja District, Yendi Municipal in the Northern Region; Bawku Municipal, Builsa North District and Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region; Jirapa Municipal, Sissala East Municipal, Wa Municipal in the Upper West Region; Hohoe Municipal, Kadjebi District, South Dayi District, South Tongu District inthe Volta; and Sefwi-Wiawso Municipal, Shama District, and Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal in the Western Region.

The Africa Development Bank (AFDB) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) are co-founding the project worth 1.7 million U.S. dollars for the vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Project Co-ordination and Management of the Private Enterprises Programmes, the NBSSI and the MMDAs have signed an undertaking on the properuse of the vehicles.

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