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Regional News of Thursday, 20 December 2012

Source: GNA

Lack of patronage renders GRATIS Volta Redundant

The Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service (GRATIS) Centre in the Volta Regional capital Ho is almost redundant for lack of patronage.

The hammering, grinding, chiseling, welding and sawing noisy atmosphere characteristic of the usually busy Centre near the Volta Regional Police Headquarters has faded into cold silence.

Except for the main machinery shop which is struggling to project a semblance of activity, the Centre’s Foundry, blacksmithing and carpentry workshops have been closed down.

Mr Emmanuel Ampofo, Regional Manager of the Centre, lamented the dismal situation of the Centre which he said has great potentials to generate revenue while spearheading the drive towards small scale industrialization in the Volta region.

GRATIS was established in 1987 by the government of Ghana with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the European Union (EU) to promote small scale industrialization at the grassroots through training and technology services.

Mr Ampofo told the Ghana News Agency that young people were just not interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to be trained free of charge at the Centre.

He said the Centre expected state institutions such as District and Municipal Assemblies and second cycle institutions to patronize the Centre which has the expertise and machinery to provide some of their needs such as furniture, refuse containers among others and to carry out repairs.

Mr Ampofo said the Akatsi District Assembly and OLA Senior High School were the only notable state institutions which are now doing business with the Centre.

He identified the inability of the Centre to pre-finance contracts from state institutions and high costs of production and services as the major challenges which rendered its services unattractive to prospective institutional patrons.

Mr Ampofo however said the GRATIS Foundation head office was working on standard prices but the Centre was ready to negotiate terms with potential patrons.

He therefore appealed to other District and Municipal Assemblies, schools, hospitals and some such institutions to take advantage of the technology expertise at the Centre.

Mr Ampofo said the Centre could train beneficiaries under the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Scheme (LESDEP).

The Centre has on display a number of products such as hybrid solar and liquefied petroleum gas dryer for drying vegetables and herbs.