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Govt upgrades capacity of 2000 artisans, tradesmen

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Governor Babatunde Fashola

• As Fashola canvasses return of goldsmiths

MORE than 2000 artisans and tradesmen have been retrained in various skills and competency under the capacity building initiative of the Lagos State Tradesmen and Artisans Empowerment Programme (LASTAEP).

The training, conducted by the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Educational Board (LASTVEB) is to enhance productivity and engender growth in the informal sector.

The 2000 artisans and traders successfully completed an eight-week intensive training in entrepreneurship, use of ICT and other business skills to upgrade their skills in the small enterprises.

State governor, Babatunde Fashola, at the sixth edition of the artisans and tradesmen day in Lagos yesterday, said the programme was initiated to bridge the skills gap and cushion employment challenge in the state.

Fashola said the problem of unemployment was national and Lagos was not been immuned. While some fortunate artisans were getting jobs, it turned out that they were foreigners from neighbouring countries.

The governor said that was the common story some years ago, and the problem they have resolved with the artisan and tradesmen training programme.

He added that it was not the case that there were no skilled men like electricians, tilers, plumbers among others, but have not been well-skilled for contemporary competitiveness and that saw to the upgrading of the five technical colleges for their training.

“Today, very confidently and happily, I can announce that all out technical colleges are up and running. And people are being trained in their large capacity for roof making, tiling, electricity installation, bricklaying, electronics, aluminum and production and so on,” he said

On why the programme is important, Fashola said, “There are few things we must all understand to solving unemployment and poverty. One of them lyes in three words: ‘Made in Nigeria’. As long as we make more things in Nigeria, it will mean that many more mills, factories and production units are functioning. As long as they are functioning, they will need hands to keep them in operation and that is what will create employment, reduce unemployment and poverty.

“As I often love to say, nothing gives a man or woman pride than to be able to say to his family ‘I am going to work’. It is a lot of dignity and widely different from ‘I am going to beg’. When the dignity of men is uplifted, there is a lot they can do,” he said.

He urged the new entrepreneurs on unity and clustre formations to be able to access credits and also insure their businesses.

The governor said it was unfortunate that specialised skills like goldsmith that used to be popular some years ago, have now vanished among available skills.

He said that with enormous gold deposit around the country and heavy reliance of imported gold, there was need to revamp the industry and add them to number of 54 registered artisan and tradesmen groups in the state.

Special Adviser to the governor on commerce and industry, Oluseye Oladejo, said the artisan week was an occasion to endorse newer skills into the various groups.


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