Ho, July 1, GNA-A craft village is to be built in Ho under the auspices of the Council of Artisans (COA) to promote the production and export of handicraft made in the Volta Region. The village, being envisaged as the hub of business in the production and marketing of handiworks is also expected to boost the region's bid to enter the US market under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).
Mr. Pytha Keh, COA Chairman, said this at a durbar to climax the celebration of artisan's week in Ho on Friday. He slammed governments over the years for paying lip service to providing help to artisans, while doing everything to shore-up and promote the welfare of employees and those in training in the formal sector.
Mr Keh said the artisan was neglected despite the fact that, "the role of the artisan in the development of every nation is enormous; talk about the building of schools, hospitals, offices, and roads". He called for some form of support by government for people who go into apprenticeship, just as given to those who go to tertiary schools and other professional colleges.
Mr. Keh also called for a day to be put aside "where artisans can also celebrate and be honoured".
Mr. Emmanuel Akoto, a Lecturer in Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ho Polytechnic said it was improper for government agencies to shove off local artisans when awarding contracts. He also criticized the bureaucracy and high fees associated with the registration of businesses and the meagre credit available to business people.
Mr Akoto challenged artisans to be transparent in their business practices, seek more training and endeavour to pay back all credit granted them.
Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Minister urged the Municipal Assembly to speed up work on a garment factory, which was expected to also serve as a training centre for artisans. COA is made up associations of craftsmen, dressmakers, beads makers, hairdressers and basket weavers among others, operating within the Ho Municipality.
Mr Edjosan Epiphane Edoh, Secretary-General of the Research Actions for Sustainable Development (CERAD) an international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), which supports the growth of small businesses, said the priority of artisans should be ways to increase earnings legitimately from their businesses.