Over 2,000 Lagosians on Monday benefited from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), as they were presented with cheques ranging from N200,000 to over N500,000 by the State government as loans to start their businesses.
With Monday’s disbursement of the loans, the state government through LSETF, according to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has now disbursed over N7 billion in loans while the total beneficiaries have also increased to over 10,000.
Ambode made the disclosure in his speech at the presentation ceremony which took place at the LTV Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
He also disclosed that women have benefited substantially from the LSETF programmes.
According to the governor “Our commitment to women is evident in the number of women who are beneficiaries of the programmes of this Fund. Before today we had a total of 3,652 female loan beneficiaries to the 4,280 male loan beneficiaries.
“Under our Lagos Employability Support Programme, women represent 49% of the total number of young people that LSETF has trained while in our Lagos Innovates programme which supports a tech ecosystem dominated by men, 21% of the beneficiaries are women
“In line with our promise of inclusive governance, almost half of these loans were given to women; while the beneficiaries range from the youth to our senior citizens in active business. In spite of this, the Fund has assured me of their work to increase the level of female participation across all programmes, especially within Lagos Innovates.
“In addition, the Fund has ensured that all 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Community Development Areas (LCDAs) have felt its impact”.
The LSETF programmes, he said, has created over 25,000 new direct jobs created directly by these businesses in the state and that the multiplier effect of those businesses on the Lagos economy and the indirect jobs created is enormous.
“Apart from the jobs being created, I am especially pleased to see testimonials from some of our beneficiaries. I watched the video of Ibrahim Shuaib; a final year student of Dentistry at the Lagos State University Medical School. With a loan of N250,000, Ibrahim has not only grown his dry-cleaning business, employing over 20 people, but also started another business which his sister runs.
“I also read about Femi Oyedipe, whose chocolate production business, Loshes Chocolate, can now produce ten times more than before, employing more Lagosians as staff. Apart from employing more people, Loshes Chocolate makes it products from cocoa beans sourced from Ondo State, creating value for farmers outside Lagos. This is a very good example of the inter-state economic partnership Nigeria needs to grow its economy.
“Another LSETF programme that we are very proud of is the Lagos Employability Support Programme, under which we have trained 3,363 unemployed youth and over 1,100 of them are now either employed or running their own businesses”.
“You will all agree with me that the future is tech and our Employment Trust Fund is poised to make Lagos the leading destination for Africa’s most exciting talent and start-ups. Under the Lagos Innovates Programme, 75 start-ups have been awarded work space vouchers which provides their businesses with access to excellent infrastructure and a community where they can incubate and pursue their dream of becoming Africa’s emerging unicorns; without bearing the associated cost. We have also awarded a loan to one of the leading hubs, to expand and incubate more technology start-ups in the Lagos environs.
Ambode congratulated beneficiaries charging them to grow their businesses, “create jobs for the unemployed, contribute to the growth of the Lagos GDP, and most importantly, repay your loans.”
“Our expectation of today’s beneficiaries is to emulate the over 1,500 beneficiaries who have successfully repaid their loans. It is because of beneficiaries like them that we continue to revolve the capital being used for LSETF’s various programmes. It is our belief that many years from now, the foundation we have built today will produce notable businesses that Lagos State can be proud of.”
The governor said the government has a vision through the State Employment Trust Fund to grow the Lagos economy by supporting entrepreneurship, which in turn will create jobs for the unemployed residents.
Ambode thanked the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) for supporting the initiative expressing confidence that their target to train 10,000 young people is achievable.
He also commended the Chairman, Executive Secretary, Board and Staff of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for translating “our dream to reality and bringing it to Lagosians.
“I also thank the Honourable Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary and all staff of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment. The Employment Trust Fund thrives today because of their total commitment to the prospect of empowering Lagos residents with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
“Finally, I thank the Lagos State House of Assembly, especially the House Committee on Wealth Creation and Employment, who have been relentless in their support for this initiative. Their oversight and ideas have greatly enhanced the outcomes we are seeing today.”
Adding that “I look forward to hearing more success stories from beneficiaries of the programmes of our Employment Trust Fund. The Lagos State Government will continue to support this programme and we welcome more institutional partners and collaborators. We have only just laid the foundation; there is still a lot more to be done but I am confident that this story will only get better.”
Assuring that the APC governorship candidate in the forthcoming election, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has promised to continue with the projects when he takes over as governor.