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By NBF News
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THE Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has expressed worries at the progressive depletion of the artisan population across the country.

Mimiko noted that artisans had become endangered specie due to the un-checked influx of artisans into quick money making ventures such as commercial motorcycle operation and GSM telephone vendoring.  There kind of businesses and the gains from them according to him, were not only un-enduring, but un-consciously kill artisanship sustainable economic growth, ingenuity and excellence.

Mimiko, however, announced government's plan to pioneer a conscious programme aimed at returning artisans in the country.

To demonstrate his commitment, the governor has kick-started the scheme code-named special Transformative Artisan Repositioning Scheme (STARS) with the disbursement of N280 million to over 3,396 artisans across the state.

Apart from the fund another group of beneficiaries also received various machines, which included six lorry tippers, 99 grinding machines, 90 welding machines, 65 drums of carbide and four fault detecting machines, all valued at several millions of naira.  Beneficiaries were spread across the state's 18 local government areas. They included butchers/beef vendors who were given some millions of naira through their association to procure cows to be distributed among themselves.

Speaking on what informed the evolvement of the scheme, Mimiko said 'The Special Transformative Artisans Repositioning Scheme (STARS), a policy initiative of this administration was designed to cater for Artisans who have completed apprenticeship training but could not practise their trade due to lack of funds as well as those that are in the trade but need financial empowerment for better performance.'

The governor who warned that the country's economy could be exposed to further danger if conscious efforts were not taken at all levels of government to rescue and reclaim the artisan sector which he said is a major player in the informal sector, vowed that his administration will not rest until those driven out of the sector were successfully returned and restored.

To underscore this, he said, 'Artisans of all grades and categories form a major force in our society and economy.  Artisans are important factor in the simulation of economic activities across the length and breadth of the state.  They are the engine room for industrial development.'