By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
THE Lagos State government has disclosed its plan to assist the informal sector to address the challenges hindering smooth running of the sector especially in the areas of funding and infrastructure.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Adeniyi Oyemade, at a briefing to herald the first Tradesmen and Artisans Week slated for Friday, 7 May to 13Â May 2010 with the theme: â€œUnleashing the potentials of the informal sector for economic growth,â€ said the state government had set structures in motion to improve the working conditions of individuals in the informal sector.
According to him, â€œpower supply and funds are the major areas the state government is set to ameliorate. We are negotiating with financial institutions in the state to reduce the interest rate from the present position to a single digit for the formal and informal sectors because the high rate is one of the numerous challenges killing the industry.â€
The commissioner said the state had set aside a pool of fund and concluded plans to partner with some financial institutions to provide artisans with loan from N500,000 and above as a means of empowering them to function better in the state.
On power generation, Oyemade said the state government had opened its doors to corporate organisations and individuals to partner withÂ the state under the Independent Power Project, IPP, adding that the state government was already looking at boosting industrial areas in Lagos with power supply through the IPP.
On the first artisanâ€™s week, he said: â€œThe Tradesmen and Artisan Week would afford the state government the opportunity to celebrate great men and women in the informal sector whose contributions have impacted in no small measure the economic fortunes of the state.
â€œThe week will also help to identify the various challenges facing the sector and proposed the necessary antidote on the variety issues confronting them and create interactions amongst financial institutions, general public and Lagos state government.â€
The commissioner said over 10,000 participants from 300 associations in the sector were expected to participate during the week-long celebrations and urged all the associations that had not registered with the state government to do so in their own interest as the state government would on the day of the grand finale give awards to artisans that excelled in their chosen endeavour.