The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has enrolled 500 persons who were engaged in illegal mining in vocational and technical training institutions.
The beneficiaries, who are from mining communities in Kyebi and Aduasa in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region, are pursuing a one-year intensive programme in building and construction, electrical and automobile engineering, catering, dressmaking, interior decoration, among others.
The exercise is under the government’s Livelihood Empowerment Programme (LEP) aimed at stemming illegal mining in the country by providing alternative employment and income generation opportunities for the beneficiaries. They form part of 5,000 illegal miners identified in communities affected by the recent ban on small-scale mining.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, disclosed this to journalists after a working visit to the Suhum Community Development Vocational and Technical Institute (SUVOTECH) and the Kibi Technical Institute (KTI) in the Eastern Region last Thursday.
SUVOTECH admitted 72 of the candidates while 50 are enrolled in KTI.
The visit was to enable her to familiarise herself with progress being made by the beneficiaries since they began the course in September last year.
Hajia Mahama and her team also interacted with officials of the schools and the beneficiaries after inspecting some facilities including handiworks by the beneficiaries such as bags, shoes, dresses, ornaments, electrical sockets and extension boards.
Hajia Mahama said the training would equip the beneficiaries with employable skills to enable them to either create or find sustainable jobs to discourage them from going back into illegal mining.
“This government is committed to rooting out illegal mining. We believe that under this programme, the beneficiaries would be equipped with the needed skills to either own businesses or be employed easily for them to earn decent incomes,” she stated.
According to her, the ministry received 5,000 applications for the first phase of the programme focused on the southern sector of the country, and gave an assurance that the second phase of the exercise, which was expected to take off in July this year, would accept more applications, especially from the northern sector.
“The government is spending GH¢650 on each of the beneficiaries for the training. Each of them is being given an amount of GH¢250 as termly allowance for their upkeep.
“We are also going to give them working tools and a start-up capital of not less than GH¢500 when they complete their respective studies,” Hajia Mahama added.
She expressed delight in their determination to learn and encouraged them to work even harder and also broaden their horizon beyond the classroom.
The minister further entreated the teachers to introduce the beneficiaries to entrepreneurship and financial literacy to enable them to become better managers of their ventures upon completing their various courses.
Officials of SUVOTECH and KTI appealed to the government to support the schools with adequate resources and infrastructure to enhance teaching and learning.