13th July, 2012
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) joined thousands of artisans and tradesmen at the 2012 Edition of the Tradesmen and Artisans Week celebrations, describing them as cornerstones of prosperity in the state even as he urged them never to compromise on standards as any shoddy jobs done by them could have fatal consequences.
The governor, who spoke at the BlueRoof Hall in LTV 8, Agidingbi, IKeja, on Wednesday added that all practising artisans and tradesmen must make it a point of duty not to cut corners, because it does not pay.
He explained that since artisans have proved to be the cornerstone of Lagos State and being the ones who make things happen, with their skills always in constant demand for the people’s daily survival, they must also improve and form themselves into co-operatives in order to realise their full potential.
Governor Fashola reiterated that the state will organise more training for the different grades of artisans and also ensure that those trained impart the knowledge to those coming behind them in a train-the trainers concept.
He urged them to separate their offices from their workshops because if their workshops are untidy it can drive away potential customers.
He noted that what is ideal for every artisan is to set aside the money that he uses for business from what he spends as personal emolument, adding that what is very desirable is for everyone to earn a salary from his earning and if possible also employ an accountant who keeps a proper record of his financial books.
The governor also said there is strength in numbers and that the artisans as professional groups should form themselves into co-operatives where they stand a chance of attracting loans from commercial lending institutions.
He cited the example of the Lagos State Meat Sellers Association, who successfully organised themselves into a co-operative group and got N1.2 billion as loan from Fidelity Bank at a programme to fund the procurement of refrigerated meat vans for the use of their members in the state.
The governor, who spoke at length on the vital roles that artisans play in various sectors, urged them to note that each time a building collapses in the state, they might be a part of the problem for agreeing to use a substandard material either as a bricklayer or a carpenter in the course of constructing the building.
The governor said the same applies when an automobile mechanic decides to buy a substandard brake pad to be installed in a vehicle and the vehicle ends up in a road crash that may involve fatalities.
He said he expects the association to come together and sign a code of conduct that never again will they patronise any form of defective or fake parts or materials. He said the association should have standards which the members must not go below.
Governor Fashola explained that in all the sectors, artisans have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the smooth running of the businesses, citing the example of the agricultural sector where tractors are used and need the attention of technicians when they break down.
The governor informed the association that for the light rail system, which will soon be rolled out in the state, the artisans would not only be involved as the drivers of the rails but would also be trained on how to repair the trains at a rail training school that would be similar to the one that used to exist at the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
The governor added that the state has shown there are lots of opportunities for the artisans in the state from its last Economic Summit where it focused on PATH, which stands for Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing, adding that the sectors represent the largest employers of labour in the state.
Earlier, in the welcome address, the Special Adviser on Commerce and Industry, Mr. Seye Oladejo, said it is heartwarming that the informal sector development initiative of the state governor has attracted the attention of international organisations who have offered to partner with the state on the implementation of the initiative.
He also informed that the state is supported by ENABLE programme of the Department For International Department, DFID, in this year’s celebration, adding that in the same vein, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has indicated interest in working with the state in improving the lot of operators in the informal sector.
In a goodwill message, the president of the Lagos Sate Council of Tradesmen and Artisans, Engineer Bola Sanusi, appealed to all tradesmen and artisans who were yet to register with their trade associations to do so immediately to avoid embarrassment in the near future.
He also invited both the conventional and MICRO Finance banks to take advantage of the larger numbers and partner with the council by giving loans to his members through their association at reasonable interest rates.
At least 780 Artisans under the Lagos State Tradesmen and Artisans Capacity Building Scheme were also presented with their certificates at the ceremony, which also featured the presentation of awards to people and groups that have distinguished themselves in various fields.
The well attended, colourful event was also witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu, a member of the State House of Assembly, Bisi Yussuf, traditional rulers including the Akran of Badagry, Aholu Menu Toyi and several artisans and tradesmen who exhibited their wares and turned out in beautiful attires at the event.