The government has earmarked more than $15 million
for the establishment of 30 additional Rural Technology Facilities (RTFs) under the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Already, 21 RTFs have been constructed under the Rural Enterprises Project Phases One and Two. The Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow
announced this in Goaso in the Asunafo North District, during the a graduation ceremony for technical students of the Goaso and Bechem RTF training schools.
An RTF is a technical workshop equipped with metal working machines for technical training and the development and promotion of appropriate technology to micro and small-scale enterprises (MSEs) in REP districts. . It consists mainly of two sections: metal machining and automobile repair; and welding/fabrication. Each section is equipped with modern equipment for the manufacturing different types of metallic based equipment and spare-parts.
The cost of the 30 new RTF is being funded by the African Development Bank, a co-financier of REP. The cost will cover construction of the workshop building, workshop equipment, office equipment and vehicles among others. Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah also announced that apart from the 30 RTFs, hostels would be constructed for some of the selected RTFs to accommodate trainees and others who visit the center for their practical attachment.
The Trade and Industry Minister mentioned that the Government recognized that the world is being moved by remarkable increases in technological advancement, including the running of businesses. He explained that for Ghana to grow from its current lower-middle income status to a higher one, the country would need a manpower that is skilled, knowledgeable, productive and adaptable to the changing needs of industry and businesses.
“let us remind ourselves that without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen. History has taught us that technological advancement is best promoted through technical training and manufacturing, which are the core mandate of Rural technology Facilities”, Dr Spio-Garbrah mentioned.
He therefore advised all stakeholders to play their part to ensure that the RTF, established under REP, remained viable and sustainable to support the development of rural businesses.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah commended the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural
Development for their support in financing the implementation of the REP.
The 20 graduates, aged between 19 and 25 years, underwent a three-year skills training in metal machinery, welding and fabrication. They were presented with certificates and free start up kits to establish their businesses.
Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, National Director of REP, explained that under the current training regime undertaken at the Goaso, Bechem and Half Assini RTFs, the students were taken through not only the practical technical training, but also learned subjects like Entrepreneurship, Technical Drawing, Mathematics and English Language to effectively prepare them for the job market. At the end of their three-year training the students also sat for the National Vocational and Training Institute (NVTI) Certificate examination, he said.
Mr. Attah-Antwi, explained that the core mandate of the RTFs include training of mastercraftsmen, technical and traditional apprentices. They also manufacture agric related equipment and spare-parts, undertake field demonstrations to promote new technologies; and provide repair services for the local communities. He mentioned that the RTFs also provide opportunities for students from universities and other technical institutions to do their practical attachment on short-term basis.