Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday launched the disbursement of N50,000 grant each for at least 4000 Kwara artisans to support their businesses and strengthen the local economy.
“This programme is one of our initiatives to support local industries, talents and SMEs to grow. This prevents job export, strengthens the local economy, reduces poverty rate, and improves living standards in the state,” AbdulRazaq said at the launch in Ilorin, the state capital.
“Before our administration in 2019, Kwara State did not have any structured and legally backed initiative to encourage and support local industries, self-employment, petty trading, and reduce poverty.
“History bears us witness that we are doing that already through the Kwara State Social Investment Programme. We will not drop the ball.”
The administration had in 2020 contracted the production of 500,000 facemasks to the state branch of the Nigerian Tailoring Union to curb the spread of COVID 19, apart from several other supports so far extended to the group.
AbdulRazaq said the artisans are the custodians of various skills and key drivers of sustainable economic growth, adding their inclusion in the intervention will help to encourage skills development and grow the economy.
“What we are doing today takes our policy of inclusive growth to a new height. Artisans are the custodians of various skills and key drivers of sustainable economic growth. Their inclusion in this intervention will therefore help to encourage skills development and grow the economy,” he said.
He congratulated all the beneficiaries and urged them to make good use of the grant for good impacts on the society.
In attendance were cabinet members, other officials of government; labour leaders, and party supporters, including the Acting General Manager for Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), Abdulquowiyu Olododo; Director General State APC Campaign Council Ambassador Abdulfatai Seriki and thousands of artisans.
The acting General Manager for KWASSIP, AbdulQuowiyu Olododo, for his part, said 4,000 artisans were carefully selected from 13,000 applicants across the 16 local governments, calling it another giant step toward eradicating poverty in the state.
He commended AbdulRazaq for his leadership quality, his passion for masses, and how he has been supporting the agency to thrive in its given task.
“I must commend the effort of our visionary, committed, and prudent leader, His Excellency Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who, without him, we wouldn’t have been able to come this far. We say a big thank you, sir,” he said.
President, State Artisans Congress, Alhaji Jimoh Adeshina, appreciated the Governor for his leadership style and how he has been supporting the local artisans in various ways.
He said the current grant of N50,000 each for 4000 artisans was unique and will make a great impact in the lives of the recipients.
“We should be thankful to God for the gift of Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq. The Governor has fulfilled all his promises he made to Kwara artisans during the 2019 campaigns. Importantly, the Governor fulfilled his promise to patronize us if elected to power,” he said.
Adeshina said Kwara artisans cannot quantify the large impacts of support they are getting from the administration, alluding to various programmes that so far benefitted his members.
“During the heat of COVID 19, he contracted our tailoring members to produce all the facemasks for the use of the state. He has also been engaging the locals, who are mostly our members, in the execution of government contracts, thereby helping to return our members who had turned to okada riders because of the low patronage in the past.
“The government has been building schools and hospitals, and constructing roads. Kwara artisans are most of the people working on project sites. Bricklayers, carpenters and tillers among others are benefitting from this. That means we benefit more from this government,” he added.
“Apart from that, the Governor also gives scholarship slots to 50 of our members every year to attend the capacity building programme at the IVTEC to enable us to meet up with the modern standards. Just recently, the Governor gave 400 local artisans scholarships to attend the training and bought working tools for the participants to function properly. All what you are doing has impacts on the masses, but we artisans benefit more. We cannot thank Your Excellency enough,” he added.