The three enterprise zones being developed by the Lagos State government, as part of efforts to ensure that artisans practise their trade off the road, would be ready for use next year.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wale Raji, said the delay in the completion of the enterprise zones, on which construction began in April 2010, is due to budget constraints. He however assured that the projects would be completed in 2011.
Raji said each of the enterprise zone would feature a central workshop, adding the Ibeju Lekki centre had already been completed, while Ikorodu and Oto-Awori centres have reached appreciable level of construction. He said that the zones would be fenced and provided with modern facilities like road network, drainage, independent electricity, water and standard workshops.
The permanent secretary further remarked that each of the enterprise zones sit on 10 hectares of land and are located in Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu and Oto-Awori in the Badagry Local Government Areas of the state, adding that more zones would also be developed. He noted that in each of the zones, government will focus on three groups of artisans – metal fabricators, block moulders and furniture makers, adding that government is working out a mortgage plan that will enable the artisans to be able to acquire workshops in the zones.
“The state government felt that artisans should be brought together by dignifying their occupation through the provision of standard workshops for them to upscale their skills in a conducive environment to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Again, the government has realised that access to finance has become a sort of problem for the artisans and that when credits are available they are not affordable, considering the high cost of fund in the country, hence the need to bring artisans together in a place. When we bring together artisans and businesses that are somehow related in the same environment, they will create zonal requirements, encourage socialisation and sharing of experience,” he stated.