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10.09.2005 Regional News

GRATIS asked not to overprice their products


Ho, Sept 10, GNA - Mr Stephen Okrah, Budget Officer of the Ho Municipal Assembly, has urged managements of intermediate technology institutes to be guided by market forces in the design and pricing of their products.

This is because their fabricated metal wares such as mills and graters were far more expensive than similar products made by bigger firms.

Mr Okrah was speaking at the graduation of 75 technical trainees under the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment's, Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) at the GRATIS Foundation in Ho. He said the high prices made it difficult for local government agencies, especially district assemblies, to buy products like litter bins, palm fruit digesters, bagging stands and different types of graters from these centres. Mr Okrah said the Ho Municipal Assembly would provide "start-up" support in the form of tools and equipment under soft terms for the trainees.

Mr George Essien Badoe, the Volta Regional Manager of Gratis Foundation, said the one-year training had equipped the trainees with technical and entrepreneurial skills to become self-employed. Equipment manufactured by GRATIS includes machines for grating cassava and for processing oil palm, vegetable oil, fruit juice, maize, tomato, pepper and cereals.

GRATIS also manufactures sanitation equipment such as garbage push trucks and solid waste containers for district assemblies. Mr Badoe said over 500 women in the Volta Region had been equipped with various skills since 2000 under the GRATIS rural enterprise training project.

A hundred other people had also been trained in metal machining, welding, fabrication, foundry work and woodwork since 1995 while 400 other people, 80 per cent of whom were women, went through the Foundation's four-month batik tie& dye training.