The Federal Government has confirmed its commitment to support artisans and technicians in stimulating economic growth and development across all sectors of the economy. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Otunba Niyi Adebayo gave the promise at the first edition of the Nigerian Artisans and Technicians Conference (NATCO) at the National Theater in Lagos, recently, with the theme: “Artisans, Technology and Empowerment; The Future of The Nigerian Economy”.
The minister, who was represented by a senior ministry official, Mr Adewale Bakare maintained that no nation can develop without credible governance that will facilitate private sector participation, adding that the federal government is already improving the needed infrastructure that brings about economic growth.
The minister said that its agencies are committed to creating an enabling environment to stimulate domestic investments and attract foreign direct investments in all sectors of the economy and also make Nigeria a destination in Africa and the world at large.
Adebayo advised the private sector to key into government efforts in its drive to improve and develop the economy, stressing “It is a truth that Nigeria’s quest for development cannot be achieved without adequate acceptance of the informal sector”, the minister said.
Also speaking at the conference, Lagos State Chairman of Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Asiwaju Jacob Omonide Fayeun said that the association has achieved recognition with the successful hosting of the maiden NATCO conference. Fayeun said “We have achieved recognition and I believe the president and members of his team has seen what happened today. We have not been getting recognition both from the state and federal government. We are very important in the society.
“Without us the economy cannot move. Artisans and Technicians control the employment level who would have become miscreants. Next year, it is going to be better. I know the Federal government will sponsor this programme next year. It is very difficult to organise this kind of event but God assisted us to succeed in planning this one. I know the recognition will come from government, particularly during elections.
“What you saw here are just mere representatives. I came here with almost 2, 000 of NATA members. If we say every member should come, it means we will have to use the national stadium. During election, state and federal government will use us and then dump us. I used to mobilize my people to sleep in mechanic villages during elections. So as they can cast their votes”.
The NATA chairman, however stated that the association wants government to improve conditions of their living, loans to improve their work, training and support.
He pointed out that China is doing well because their government is giving them the desired support.
In his remark, Mr Dayo Bello of Global Sight Services Limited and chief convener of NATCO said that the event was a huge success.
Bello said, “From what happened here, you can see the commitment, we registered over 13, 000 Artisans delegates, not even Artisans members.
I want to agree it is a success and we thank God. The ministry has told them to go and look at their challenges and write.
“This opportunity was not there before. At least, they now know that there will be challenges. As a consultant to the Artisans, I will not relent to ensure that we get to where we are going. They have promised and I believe government can do it.
“This country will definitely move forward. There are many people who are artisans but what do they do now. They are now okada riders because they don’t have any support. Most of them are abandoning their trade. With this first leg of the conference, I believe that the future is bright. We pray that God will crown our efforts.
“Artisans are supposed to be millionaires and billionaires if we do the right thing. The first thing is to build their capacity so that their jobs should not be taken by foreigners. They should be able to know more of their trade. If they know all these things, they are not supposed to be looking for empowerment but they are the ones to empower others.”