Mr Ayegbe Isaac, the President, Association of Trading, Craftsmen, Ekiti State chapter, on Wednesday identified low patronage by the government as one of the major challenges confronting the association.
Isaac made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
He said “government present patronage of our products is still very low in spite of the cordial relationship that exists between the association and the government.’’
Isaac, a member of the Board for Technical and Vocational Education in Ekiti State, said the association was present in dire need of adequate patronage from the government to improve skills, productivity and members’ income.
He decried the situation whereby government offices were dominated by imported furniture products at the detriment of locally produced items.
Isaac expressed the need for the government to channel adequate resources toward evolving policies that would encourage artisans and craftsmen to improve on their skills in aligning with modern and international standard.
He said that such adequate patronage would not only promote the government’s entrepreneurship development efforts would also increase the government’s investment drive, earnings and substantial reduction in the unemployment rate.
Isaac said the association on its part had never relented in educating its members on the need to improve on their skills, production capacities to meet with market’s preference and demand.
“Most of this imported furniture can be produced locally by our members. What we need most is motivation and encouragement from the government through adequate patronage and incentive that will serve as a morale booster for our members.
“We are very happy with the level of relationship and recognition accorded the association by the present administration led by Gov. Kayode Fayemi but we still ask for their patronage.
“It has been a source of inspiration for both the leaders and members for being carried along in the affairs of the state, especially as it affects traders and craftsmen.
“But like Oliver Twist, we are calling for more patronage for our locally produced items to improve our member’s production capacity and income,” he said.
Isaac described the recently introduced Federal Government’s Survival Fund Intervention Scheme as a well-thought-out initiative toward improving and sustaining Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in the country.
“We have been encouraging our members to visit the site when it gets to our turn to register to be one of the beneficiaries.
“We are very optimistic that such intervention from the government will go a long way to douse the tension created by the various measures toward curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic.