finance & economy

Almost 90% of handicrafts businesses are totally blocked and 40% of them shut down (Salah Amamou)

October 8, 2020

TAP) - The handicrafts sector has been seriously hit by the COVID-19 crisis. 90% of companies are totally blocked and 40% of them have shut down, President of the Confederation of Handicrafts under the the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) Salah Amamou said Wednesday.

Speaking to TAP, Amamou said “the sector is facing an unprecedented crisis. The economic situation is worse than the 2008 downturn or the Gulf war. We have never witnessed such challenges. Calls of help reach us every day from craftsmen who have been forced to leave their premises as they could not pay their rent any longer.

He added that “the handicrafts sector depends on two markets, (domestic and foreign). The foreign market hinges on tourism.

As for the local market, the purchasing power of Tunisians has so much deteriorated as handicrafts products have become an inaccessible luxury.

As for the foreign market, tourist activity is almost at a standstill. As a result, craftsmen find no way out for their productions and therefore no longer make any products.

The President of the Confederation of Handicrafts said the reopening of borders last June 27 dealt a fatal blow to the sector.

“After the difficulties encountered during the general lockdown, some craftsmen, especially the youngest among them, started to create new marketing channels for themselves through social selling.

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases due to the reckless government decision to reopen the borders has again undermined the hopes of these craftsmen ”.

For Amamou, government instability and ongoing changes within successive governments also hindered the resolution of problems faced by the sector 'which is dying slowly, for lack of a real desire to revive it'.

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