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Trade Minister inaugurates Rural Technology Facilities

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Ms. Hannah Tetteh - Trade Minister

Government is committed to enhance and build a strong and vibrant rural economy to reduce unemployment, poverty and rural-urban migration.

Ms Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry made this known when she inaugurated the Rural Technology Facilities (RTFs) at Goaso in Asunafo North Municipality and Bechem in Tano North District of the Brong Ahafo Region.

She said the government was establishing the facilities countrywide to support the transfer of appropriate technology to farmers, agro-processors, metal based artisans, micro and small entrepreneurs, as well as the training of unemployed youth as apprentices in viable artisanal trades.

Ms Tetteh said the interventions were being funded by the government, International Fund for Agricultural Development and the African Development Bank (ADB).

“They are aimed at ensuring that the technology promotion and support to apprenticeship training component of the Rural Enterprises Project (REP) becomes a reality.

“The RTF facilities consist of technical workshops with appropriate equipment and qualified technical personnel for technical training, promotion and disseminating of appropriate technology to support micro and small-scale enterprises at the technical level,” Ms Tetteh said.

She said so far 66 districts in the country were participating in the project, comprising 53 additional districts selected for the phase Two.

Ms Tetteh emphasised that the interventions had resulted in the establishment of more than 21,000 businesses and created more than 52,000 jobs in all 10 regions.

She said government was establishing 21 RTFs in the country to lead in the transfer of appropriate technology to rural enterprises.

Fifteen of them had already been inaugurated and are providing high quality services to the people.

Ms Tetteh said the 15 facilities were located at Mampong, Bekwai and Konongo-Odumasi in Ashanti Region, Techiman and Drobo in Brong-Ahafo Region, Asamankese and Donkorkrom in Eastern Region, Assin South in Central Region and Asankrangwa and Bibiani in Western Region.

The others are Navrongo and Garu-Tempane in Upper East Region, Nadowli in Upper West Region, Salaga in Northern Region and Kete-Krachi in Volta Region.

Ms Tetteh indicated that a management board of practicing technologists, opinion leaders and members of trade associations had been formed to oversee and offer technical advice and direction to the facilities.

She entreated members of the board to be pro-active and to provide strategic direction that would ensure the development and growth of micro and small scale enterprises in the beneficiary district assemblies to support business creation and employment generation.

The Minister stressed the need for regular maintenance not only to prolong the life span of the machinery but also to ensure that the machines performed at optimal level. In an address read on his behalf, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, said the government was initiating a number of programmes aimed at creating employment avenues in the country.

One of such programmes is the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Module under the National Youth Employment Programme, through which the unemployed youth would be taken through vocational and technical skills training.

Mr Nyamekye Marfo said the trained youth would be given equipment such as sewing machines, carpentry and masonry tools to start their own small enterprises.

He pledged the support of the Regional Co-ordinating Council to ensure that all districts in the region would have the opportunity to receive support for the promotion of the enterprises.

Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, Project Co-ordinator of REP, said the total cost of the building at Goaso housing the RTF was GH¢141,800 while the workshop equipment including port clearing and installation attracted the cost of GH¢352,700.

In addition, the project provided a pick-up vehicle, two motorcycles, a high capacity diesel generator and office equipment to enhance the smooth administration of the project.

The facility building at Bechem cost GH¢140, 700 while the workshop equipment and related necessities was pegged at GH¢330, 500.

Mr Sebastian Delahaye, a representative of the ADB, said the bank started assisting the REP programmes in 2004 and 30,000 persons had so far been trained through the community-based skills development.

A total of 17,000 persons participated in business orientation seminars, whilst 27,000 small enterprises benefited from business counselling through the Business Advisory Centres.

At Goaso, Alhaji Kwaku Doku, Asunafo North Municipal Chief Executive said the provision of the RTF was a fulfilment of the campaign promise by President John Evans Atta Mills to ensure that rural areas enjoyed basic amenities.

Source: GNA

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