Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Craftsmen say economic recession has helped them create new business ideas

Some craftsmen at Arts and Culture Centre in Abuja say the economic recession in Nigeria has enabled them to explore new business ideas.
The artists said in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that they were enjoying patronage  for their products unlike the situation in the past.
Mr Stanley Anyanwu, Assistant Provost, African Art and Cultural Heritage Association (AACHA), said: “ I am very happy for the recession because now Nigerians patronise our business than going to buy them overseas or patronising the foreign made ones.
“Most of these arts and crafts you see in this village were formerly being imported into the country before and people like us decided to think out of the box by producing them here.
“So before the recession, art and craft like Palate and Axle were being imported into the country but now we produce them locally.
“And our economy can only grow when we start to produce many goods by ourselves than importing them because if  Nigerians patronise Nigerian made goods the money will circulate in the country
“So now people are buying our products and even we are exporting some of our products to overseas and earning foreign exchange for the country.’’
Anyanwu, however, called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for craftsmen at the centre and  assist them with soft loans to buy equipment for their jobs.
Mr Isah Suleiman, another craftsman, said that centre was supposed to be a tourist centre but government was not giving it necessary publicity to market it internationally.
He said the recession was not affecting craftsmen because they produced what they sold, adding that “no matter how much they buy materials they will still make gains when they sell.’’
He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to build a cultural kitchen in the village to showcase various types of Nigerian food to foreigners visiting the village.
Suleiman said the kitchen would boost activities at the centre and make the village complete as “food is also part of art and craft.’’
He said the lack of security, refuse collection bins and street lights in the village were hampering activities at the centre.
Suleiman pointed out that the centre was supposed to be open 24 hours but the absence of light made that impossible.
He said the absence of refuse bins also made the centre untidy and created a bad image of the centre and Nigeria.
Suleiman called on the government to renovate the village, especially the huts, many of which were bad.
“ So many huts here are dilapidated hence government needs to restructure the place in order to attract more foreigners in the village.
“Also government should ensure that people that are living in the village are actually people with cultural knowhow and not any type of person that cannot explain our cultures to foreigners ,’’he said.
However, Lawal Shuiab, the Secretary General of AACHA, and a fashion designer in the centre, said the economic recession was adversely affecting his business.
He said that since the recession his business was witnessing  low patronage as many could not afford to buy clothes anymore.
He called on the government to assist the centre by empowering the artisans in the village so that they could contribute to the development of the country.


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