Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday, 14th May, 2015, attended the state’s 6th Tradesmen and Artisans Day advocating strict compliance to law and order in the country as the only means to achieving industrial growth and economic development.
Addressing thousands of tradesmen and artisans at the capacity filled LTV Blue Roof Multipurpose Hall, Agidingbi, Governor Fashola said apart from learning the trade and perfecting the skills, the only thing that would ensure the growth of industry and economic development was the maintenance of law and order.
The Governor told the gathering that no nation develops in an atmosphere of disorder and lawlessness adding that aside the disharmony and lack of peace in the society, no investor would want to invest in such a place and without investors, there would be no job and development.
He declared, “Apart from organizing yourselves, apart from receiving training, the next other thing you must do is law and order. It is very important because no business will prosper in a disorderly society. Customer will not come, investors will not come. So living within the law is our first responsibility.
“Let me use this opportunity to also tell you this; yes you want to do business but you cannot break the law in the process of doing your business. Once you convert your residential house into a shop, you have broken the law. Once you build beyond your boundary, your perimetre fence, you have broken the law”, the Governor said.
According to the Governor, “Over time other people will join you to build beyond the property line. Now the property line, the sidewalks, has been taken over by those who want to do business and they have pushed the children and all those for whom the sidewalks are built”.
He enjoined the artisans and tradesmen to move away from the roads and other unauthorized areas where they have set up their businesses saying all over the world, people do business in specific business areas leaving the roads and sidewalks free for those for whom they are built.
“So all of you, the time to clean up is now. Let us move to the markets, let us move to the shopping centres, let us move to areas of organized business because a home is not a shop and a shop is not a home”, Governor Fashola said adding that the state government, on its part, would continue to create enabling environment for business and commerce by way of roads and other infrastructure that would make business grow.
The Governor promised that the state government and the party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would continue to work towards strengthening the economy, providing roads, providing water and, in the near term, begin to provide clearer solutions to power supply.
“We have shown you what we can do in Isolo Industrial Estate, we have shown what we can do in some Independent Power Plants (IPPs), the capacity has opened to do more”, he said adding that government was also interested in reducing interest rate so that people could invest.
According to the Governor, in any society where it is easy to make money simply by saving, the society does not invest and that society does not manufacture. “And that is why in the United Kingdom, it is 0.5 per cent interest rate. But here if you deposit N1,000,000 and you can get up to 10 per cent interest for doing nothing, why should anybody want to invest”, he said.
Recalling the reasons for the establishment of the tradesmen and artisans day in the state in 2009, Governor Fashola said it was informed by the need to wake the consciousness of the Tradesmen and artisans to the fact that their trade was being systematically taken over by their foreign counterparts who reside in the country and who did better jobs than them.
The Governor, who said Lagos, was not immune to the problem of unemployment in the country, added, however, that at the time the story was that skilled work was being taken over in many parts of the country including Lagos by non-Nigerians adding that this was the problem that Lagos has now impacted on a large scale.
“It was not that there were no tilers here, it was not that there were no plumbers here but the people they worked for complained that the quality of their work was low. So we needed to train them to bring their skills to contemporary competitiveness. To sharpen those skills so that they will work well”, he said adding that the problem led to the revamping and upgrading of the technical colleges in the state.
Noting that when a man’s dignity is uplifted he could do many things, Governor Fashola expressed delight that this year alone another 2,000 of the tradesmen and artisans have been trained to improve their skills and expose them to entrepreneurship among other advantages.
Thanking the artisans and tradesmen for their support of his government in the last eight years and their support for the APC during the last General Elections, Governor Fashola declared, “We appreciate your votes, we appreciate your support and I am sure the new government in Lagos will move on from where we stopped”.
In his goodwill message, president of the Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), High Chief Bola Sanusi, expressed appreciation to the Governor and the State Government for elevating the status of tradesmen and artisans through the institution of a day for them and training to upgrade their skills.
In his welcome address earlier, Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, said the annual event affords the Government an opportunity to appreciate some artisans and tradesmen who had distinguished themselves in their fields adding that this year’s event would also witness the presentation of 2,000 artisans and traders who had successfully completed an eight-week training programme sponsored solely by the state government.
Hightlight of the programme was the symbolic presentation of awards and certificates to outstanding artisans and tradesmen who, according to the Special Adviser, “Have distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavour.”
Also present at the event were: the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Oworu; the state Deputy Governor-elect, and former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule; artisans and tradesmen in their hundreds and decked in different uniforms as well as other stakeholders.