The 2016 edition of the Tradesmen and Artisans’ Day, is the 7th in the series and of course the first under my administration. This, I believe, is a platform for recognizing and projecting the significant contributions of the Informal sector as the vehicle of growth and economic development of the State.
Our administration recognises artisans as major players and the conveyor belt for industrialenterprise in the country. We shall work assiduously to design and develop programs aimed at upscaling their skills and capacities. Premised on this, the Government of Lagos State is particularly passionate about this sector which is demonstrated by the various programs anchored by the Ministry of Wealth Creation & Employment in collaboration with other Agencies.
These capacity building programs are specifically designed to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills, broaden their horizon and provide a competitive edge.We are committed to reverse the trend of patronage of foreign artisans over and above local counterparts.
As a proactive Government,we believe that empowering the Informal sector has been identified as key to economic recovery. There cannot be a time better than now for conscious and concerted efforts to re-engineer the mind set of young and advanced entrepreneurs with a view to re-positioning them to face modern challenges. Therefore, as the theme of this program suggests, except focus is shifted to equipping and re-building the Informal Sector, members cannot be vibrant enough for the prevailing realities.
In further demonstration of our intent, our administration inaugurated and provided fund for the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) with cardinal mandate to support the establishment and growth of small businesses to create job opportunities. This includes but not limited to providing soft loans to genuine and credible Artisans and Traders in the State.This Government would not sit and wait for oil prices to rebound in the International market before arriving at a solution to our challenges, they say, ‘new challenges require new thinking’.
Also, while working on developing your sector, this administration has equally placed premium on arresting the rising rate of unemployment and combating its challenges.
However, as an “all-inclusive” Government, we also count on Stakeholders to bring up ideas and strategies to guide the design and implementation of sustainable Idea for the growth of the sector.
While acknowledging and appreciating the presence of all relevant Stakeholders, we are assuring you that your suggestions and contributions will be diligently considered for implementation. Together, we need to sustain the growth of disposable income of Lagosians.
For the retrained Artisans who are present here today, let me remind you that the strategic position of this State offers you endless opportunities to leverage on. Lagos State contributes 25% to the GDP and, by extension, is the 5th largest economy in Africa. Your training has been designed to address the skills mis-match and provide the right mix of skills needed to service the industrial needs of the State. This administration has a clear focus on all our initiatives and belief in the potentials and innovative capacity of Lagos Artisans.
On this note, I charge you to step out and be counted as this will spur the State to do more. This is an opportunity to be united in making Lagos State a better place for you and I.