ATWO hundred and forty-seven individuals, including 67 females, have so far benefited from the capacity building programmes under the Ahafo Linkages Programme (ALP) introduced by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), operators of the Ahafo Mine in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The training programme covered business management, customer care in hospitality industry, good agricultural practices in vegetable and fruit production, upgrading of skills in pottery and bricks production and good husbandry practices in egg production.
The ALP is an initiative of the NGGL, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The primary objective of the programme was to increase income and employment for local communities around Newmont Ahafo Project through capacity building of local enterprises, directly and indirectly related to Newmont’s activities in Ahafo and improved environment for business development.
Speaking at the close-out session of the programme in Sunyani, the General Manager for Environment and Social Responsibility, Newmont Ahafo Mine, Mr Dan V. Michaelsen, said 47 local suppliers to Newmont also received capacity building and mentoring in business management, tender and financial management, finance facilitation, accounting, marketing, health and safety, technical productive skills as well as quality improvement as of December, last year.
He said as a result, those local suppliers were able to employ 93 new persons, while salaries paid to their workers amounted to over GH¢400,000.
According to him, 46 businesses had also been able to establish record keeping system through diligent filing of documents on transactions, and official documents such as contract/tender document.
Mr Michaelson stated that financial resources accessed by the businesses during the period under review amounted to GH¢650,000 with the 47 local suppliers accessing 57 new clients apart from Newmont's assistance, through a market diversification drive.
He said total sales generated by the local suppliers as of December 2009 stood at GH¢30million, while total sales made by the businesses in 2007 was GH¢4.7 million, adding that those local suppliers also made GH¢20 million worth of sales from Newmont’s contracts, in addition to GH¢9 million from their other clients.
On the local economic development front, Mr Michaelson said as of December, 2009, 44 businesses, comprising 22 for each group, also received technical assistance, while all the 44 businesses developed basic records keeping in the areas of cashbook, expenditure analysis, credit sales, credit purchase, pay roll, bank operation and raw material inventory.
Mr Michaelson added that the total sale generated by the 44 active group one businesses currently stood at GH¢2 million, creating 94 new jobs in the process, while the 44 local non-mining businesses had accessed $1.4 million dollars as credit from financial institutions.
He lauded the collaborative effort of the IFC, TechnoServe, ALP team and the Ahafo Local Businesses Association (ALBA) for their contributions to the success story of the programme.
The Programme Co-ordinator of ALP, Mr George Owusu said the gains made under the programme were through co-operation, spirit of partnership, dedication and commitment on the part of the implementers, sponsors, managers and beneficiaries.
Mr Owusu expressed hope that the beneficiaries would continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented by NGGL/IFC to better their lot.
Some of the beneficiaries at the function commended Newmont for the initiative that had ensured the consistent growth of their businesses, improvement in their livelihoods and the economics of their communities.
All the 60 local businesses that participated in the ALP were also presented with certificates.