The Rural Enterprises Project (REP) has commissioned three Rural Technology Facilities (RTF) at Konongo-Odumase in the Asante Akim North Municipality of the Ashanti Region; Asankragua in the Wassa Amenfi West District and Bibiani in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai District, both in Western Region. The commissioning of the three RTFs brings the number of RTFs commissioned by REP to ten out of the twelve already constructed. The cost of each facility is GH¢180,000 and is financed by the African Development Bank with support from the District Assembly. The RTFs will support the transfer of appropriate technology to farmers, agro-processors, metal based artisans as well as micro and small entrepreneurs in the three towns and their adjoining districts. They will also offer apprenticeship training to unemployed youth in viable artisanal trades.
The commissioning ceremony in Konongo was witnessed by many dignitaries including the Ashanti Regional Minister Hon. Kofi Opoku Manu, Former Deputy Trade and Industry Minister and currently Minister of State at the Presidency Hon. John Gyetuah, Municipal Chief Executive of the Asante Akyem North Thomas Osei-Bonsu and District Chief Executive of Asante Akim South De-graft Forkuo as well as traditional rulers of both Odumase and Konongo. Addressing the gathering, the Project Coordinator Kwasi Attah-Antwi announced that the project is also providing basic tools and equipment to graduate apprentices to enable them to establish their own businesses. He explained that more than 3,500 graduate apprentices have so far been supported with similar startup kits nationwide since 2005.
The Former Deputy Trade and Industry Minister John Gyetuah, re-affirmed government’s commitment to support the establishment of relatively large scale district industrial projects to accelerate industrial growth and create more jobs especially for the rural people. He urged the 11-member Management Board of the RTF to be proactive and help provide strategic direction to grow local industries and create jobs. The successful operation of the RTF, he explained would depend on the attitude, interest and commitment of micro and small-scale enterprises (MSEs) located in its catchment area in seeking improved technologies such as those to be provided by the RTF for their operations.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Kofi Opoku Manu urged the traditional rulers and the Assemblies in the participating districts to explore all possible avenues to support the facility to become a sustainable asset that would drive the industrialization agenda of the beneficiary districts. He swore in a ten-member Management Board of the facility and urged them to carry out their work with dedication and commitment to provide proper direction for the progress of the RTF. The chief of Odumase, Nana Kofi Antwi, appealed to land owners to release lands for development projects.
Tools and equipment for business start-up including those for dressmaking, hairdressing, carpentry, welding and fabrication, barbering and motor vehicle mechanics were presented to 30 graduate apprentices free of charge during the ceremony. The other two RTFs were also commissioned by Hon. John Gyetuah and was attended by the Acting Chief Director of Ministry of Trade and Industry Mr. Kofi Larbi. The Bibiani event was historical as it brought together all three paramount chiefs in the districts; Odeneho Gyapong Ababio II of Sefwi Bekwai, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II of Anhwiaso, and Okogyeman Kwaku Gyamprah III of Chirano; a situation which has not occurred in many years. >> more pictures
4 August 2012