Business News of 2014-01-30

Skills Development Fund creates 5,336 jobs

Financial support provided by the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to 78 local firms to improve their businesses has resulted in the creation of 5,336 new jobs in some sectors of the national economy.

They are the agricultural, information and communication technology (ICT), consumer electronic repairs, beauty and cosmetics, construction, hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, made this known in Accra last Tuesday when the SDF disbursed GH¢29 million to 168 firms for skills upgrading and technology development.

Role of SDF

The SDF is an initiative of the government and managed by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET).

Among other things, the fund provides financial support for the private sector to enable firms to upgrade the skills of their employees and acquire innovative technology that promotes production efficiency and competitiveness.

Prof Opoku-Agyeman said in the garages sector, for instance, the SDF had supported more than 578 auto mechanics to upgrade their skills in auto diagnostics, using latest computerised technologies.

“The Ghanaian auto electrician can now diagnose and repair electronic cars using cutting-edge computerised technology, a potential to increase earnings by 50 per cent. She urged COTVET to put in place a robust monitoring and evaluation framework and system, together with regular follow-up actions, to showcase not only the output of the project but also its results and impact.

“I want to remind all of us that these are public funds and, therefore, the need for transparency and accountability in its disbursement and utilisation must be our primary focus and objective,” she charged.

Selection of beneficiaries

The Executive Director of COTVET, Mr Sebastian Deh, said the 168 beneficiaries were selected from 450 applications received by the SDF.

Project Support Unit

The Project Co-ordinator and Head of the COTVET Project Support Unit, Mr Matthew Dally, said in the last two years the number of beneficiaries had increased from six to 246, while the money given to them had also increased from GH¢1.5 million to GH¢45 million.

Development partners

The World Bank Lead Health Specialist and Human Development Sector Leader for Ghana, Mr Patricio Marquez, commended the Ghana government for the establishment of the SDF to support skills development.

“Indeed, this is a great programme,” he said, and pledged the bank’s continued support for the initiative.

A representative of DANIDA, Mr Emmanuel Kojo Sackey, expressed happiness at the fast pace at which the project was expanding.

A representative of the African Development Bank, Dr Sam Toure, also lauded the progress made so far.

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