A thousand disabled male entrepreneurs from across Ghana have received a total of GHC2 million from the government, partly in the form of grants and loans, to boost their businesses.
The support is being given under the Government of Ghana’s programme to empower entrepreneurs living with disabilities.
The beneficiaries received their awards at a presentation ceremony for the Presidential Empowerment for Male Entrepreneurs With Disability (PEMED) initiative at Jubilee House in Accra.
President Akufo-Addo said the monies were being advanced to men with disabilities who work in four categories of business: barbers, shoemakers, tailors/designers and trade/commerce. The sums are 50% grant and 50% interest-free loan and they are payable after two years.
PEMED is an initiative of the Ministry of Business Development, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP).
Chance to scale up
President Akufo-Addo urged the beneficiaries to ensure that they use the financial resources to work hard, create jobs and make Ghana proud.
“It is expected that you will be guided by the structured training you have undergone to enable you to scale up your businesses and create job opportunities for people.
“I charge all of you to go out there and make us proud,” the president said.
Call for extension
In her remarks, Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, executive director of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), expressed the GFD’s appreciation to the government for the PEMED scheme.
She requested that the programme be extended to many other groups of people living with disabilities across Ghana.
“We respectfully appeal that more persons with disabilities be considered to benefit from this great initiative,” Kusi Kyeremaa said. “Your Excellency, we cannot thank you enough for your continued support.”
The Minister for Business Development, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, addressed guests at the ceremony.
Both of them urged the recepients to invest the money advanced to them solely in their business.
Representing the barbering category, Dominic Ametekpe received GHC10,000. Peter Abekedenu, a shoemaker, got GHC15,000.
Benjamin Hammond, a tailor and designer, received GHC25,000. And Kofi Peprah, representing the trade and commerce category, received GHC50,000.
Speaking on behalf of all their colleague recipients, two other beneficiaries – Joseph Mensah and Robert Benasco Pobi – registered their appreciation to President Akufo-Addo and his government.
They said the financial support for people with disability so that they can continue to earn a livelihood, even amid Ghana’s battle with COVID-19, is most welcome.
Disabled people have limited access to opportunities for reliable finance and secure employment.
The government’s PEMED initiative aims to enhance men’s entrepreneurial capacity, and enable them to contribute to economic development. Under the scheme, male entrepreneurs with disabilities not only contribute to job creation but also support efforts to create wealth and improve livelihoods.
Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio