Artisans and tradesmen in Lagos State have set target of N2 billion to be generated by them to the state government this year.

Thousands of artisans and tradesmen had gathered at the Lagos Television Ground to celebrate this year’s Artisans Day with Governor Babatunde Fashola as Special Guest of the occasion.

The president of Lagos State Council of tradesmen and Artisan, Mr. Bola Sanusi, informed the governor that the council generated over N900 million as tax for the government in 2009.

He added that a benchmark of N2 billion had been set for members in 2010. To achieve this, he said the council has commenced an awareness and developmental programmes that would sensitize members towards the attainment of the objective.

Sanusi, however, listed areas members of the council encountered challenges. These include include power, high tariff from the local government,  harassment from law enforcement agencies, etc.

In his speech, Fashola promised to tackle the challenges that affected the growth of small scale enterprises, even as tradesmen and artisans, adding that the prosperity of the economy lied in the hand of these operators.

He faulted those who referred to tradesmen and artisans in the country as members of the informal sector .

“I do not believe that my barber who cut my hair or the hair dresser who attend to my wife and daughter’s hair are informal, they contribute tremendously to the economic well being of the society and as such, are the real driver of the economy.”

He said that the annual celebration would help to acknowledge the immense role played by tradesmen and artisans in the development of the state into a mega city status.

Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Prince Adeniyi Oyemade, explained that the programme had afforded the participants operating in the sector the opportunity to interact with service providers and other stakeholders, resulting in the establishment of meaningful business relationship.

Oyemade added that it had created business opportunities for members of the various trade associations.

“For instance, food served since the beginning of the week was prepared by members of the Lagos State Caterers Association while the specially designed Ankara materials were sown by members of the Lagos State Tailor Association, ” he said.