Over 1430 business owners got about N925 million yesterday from the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to grow their businesses.
Speaking at the cheque presentation yesterday, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode charged that board of the LSETF to ensure that about 20,000 businesses got a loan by the end of 2017.
Ambode, represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said with the new disbursement, about 4000 businesses have benefited about N3.5 billion so far from the trust fund.
Providing a background to the new disbursement, Ambode said in January the implementation of the Employment Trust Fund programme commenced with the presentation of cheques in the sum of 900 million naira to 705 beneficiaries. “At that event, I emphasised the need for beneficiaries to ensure prompt repayment as this is the only way we can ensure that this programme is sustained and expanded. I am glad to note from the report of the Board that most of the beneficiaries including those whose applications have been approved on a monthly basis have started repaying their loans, expanding their businesses and creating jobs.”
An elated Ambode said one of the success stories of the programme is the achievement of one of the first set of beneficiaries, a company called Jand2Gidi, run by two young women, who invested their loan in buying motorcycles for their delivery men, and hired people to operate those motorcycles.
“Not only are they repaying their loan, they have also created at least 10 direct jobs for Lagos residents, thereby increasing the economic activity across the State. We eagerly expect to celebrate many more success stories like this.”
“My charge to the Board today is that we increase the pace of work, and ensure that by the end of 2017, at least 20,000 businesses would have benefited from the loan program. I am very confident that this is achievable, as we remain committed towards fulfilling the promise to support at least one hundred thousand (100,000) micro, small and medium enterprises by 2019.”
The governor however encouraged the new beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries to emulate those who are repaying their loans, thereby ensuring the success of the programme.
“It is only when you pay your loans back, and grow your businesses, that we can truly celebrate the success of this program. Your success is our success, and together we will grow Lagos State’s economy and create jobs for our residents.
“This initiative is another example of taxpayers’ money working for the people. I cannot thank enough all tax paying citizens for providing the resources from which the State government contributes 6.25billion naira tranches annually to the 25billion naira Employment Trust Fund. I urge everyone with existing business or desirous of starting one to take advantage of this opportunity. The process of assessing and selecting beneficiaries will continue to be transparent and meet globally acceptable standards.”
The Executive Secretary of the LSETF, Akin Oyebode Jr said that his agency is happy that 95 percent of the beneficiaries are complying with repayment plan.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr James Odia, who trades in computer and appliances, thanked the governor for coming up with the programme. He said the N5million loan, which he is expected to repay within three years, would be a good shock absorber for his business that is experiencing a down turn due to forex issues and economic recession