A group of artisans in Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti, has appealed to the state government to grant soft loans to members to cushion the negative effect of COVID-19 on their businesses.
Some of them who spoke with the Newsmen in Eda-Oniyo on Friday, expressed concern over their financial challenges that have affected their businesses.
Many say they have not fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The artisans said that they had been working tirelessly to ensure that they stay afloat in business and prevent it from total collapse.
A tailor, Mrs. Foluso Agbebi, said that the cost of sowing materials had increased in the market and that most of her colleagues were finding it difficult to buy materials during this period.
Agbebi explained that the sudden increases in prices of sowing materials had affected her business because she could not afford the costs of buying materials.
She appealed to the state government to give artisans soft loans to boost their businesses.
A furniture maker, Mr. Dapo Agunbiade, also appealed to the state government to give the furniture makers soft loans to boost their businesses.
Agunbiade said that prices of imported woods and chemicals used in spraying the furniture have skyrocketed, adding that some of his colleagues are threatening to quit the business as they can no longer afford them.
They appealed to the state government to regulate the prices of the imported woods in addition to granting them loans help in cushioning the effect of the pandemic.
A cobbler, Ayodeji Owolabi, who also spoke with appealed the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi to show concern towards artisans and their financial challenges.
Owolabi said that the prices of local and imported leathers had increased, adding that he can no longer afford the current prices unless his customers paid upfront before making their shoes.
He said that most businesses owned by artisans in the community had crumbled because they could not raise enough money to sustain them.
Owolabi assured the state government that the artisans will not default in repaying the loans if granted.
A hairdresser, Mrs. Kemisola Ogundipe, said that most of her hairdryers were old and needed replacement adding that she had not been able to buy new ones because of paucity funds.
Ogundipe explained that most of the styling creams and weaving materials are all expensive to purchase.
She appealed to the state government to come to the aid of artisans and help them with affordable loans.