Lagos State Government Disburses 1Billion Naira To 705 Entrepreneurs
In keeping to the campaign promise of fighting unemployment in Lagos State, Governor Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday presented cheques worth over N1billion to 705 beneficiaries of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (ETF) pilot scheme, charging them to utilise the funds responsibly to grow their businesses, create jobs for the unemployed youths and contribute to the growth of the Lagos economy.
The Governor made the presentation at the LTV Ikeja, Lagos, and said that his administration identified unemployment as a major socio-economic challenge facing Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole in the course of the electoral campaign, and thus prioritised job creation.
Setting up of the ETF was a direct response to address the challenge of unemployment as well as provide support to the youths, entrepreneurs, artisans and other unemployed residents of the State the Governor said.
“We have kept our word. We created a dedicated Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, whose mission is to promote and sustain entrepreneurship and employment,” the Governor said.
He said the funds are targeted at small and medium scale businesses and individuals including carpenters, hairdressers, electricians, automobile parts repairers, block makers, bakers, fashion designers, cake makers, food sellers, kerosene retailers, mobile money agents, painters, plumbers, photographers and light manufacturers of liquid soaps and water among others.
“These beneficiaries are making history as the first set of beneficiaries of this Employment Trust Fund, and my charge to you is simple: You must use these funds responsibly, grow your businesses, create jobs for our unemployed youths and contribute to the growth of the Lagos State GDP. The idea is that for every N1million we disburse, we should create a minimum of five jobs around that business value chain.
“These loans have been provided at a very affordable rate of 5% per annum, far cheaper than the prevailing bank interest of 25% per annum. This is our modest way of reflating the Lagos economy, creating jobs and getting our youths gainfully occupied. Those of you here today, the first beneficiaries of this initiative, will be the agents through which our country can overcome its current economic challenges,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also enjoined market women and female artisans to take advantage of the opportunity as his administration was particularly interested in supporting women in business.
“I also implore the Employment Trust Fund to pay special attention to the Entertainment Industry and the Tech Hubs in Sabo, Yaba area. These are new areas with huge potential for growth and job creation,” he said.
Governor Ambode also expressed optimism that the target by the Board to empower at least 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises in due course was achievable and that the multiplier effect would be the creation of over 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs by 2019.