By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode has disbursed about N1 billion to 705 beneficiaries of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
Ambode, who presented the cheques to the beneficiaries at the Blue Roof Lagos State Television Agidingbi, said the development was in fulfillment of his campaign promises of creating employment for the teaming youth in the state.
He said each of the beneficiaries in the pilot phase of the scheme will receive cheques ranging from N50, 000 to N5million totaling almost N1billion to grow and enhance their businesses.
He said: “In the course of our campaign, we identified unemployment as a major socio-economic challenge facing Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. In acknowledgment of this, we promised to prioritise job creation and set up an Employment Trust Fund to provide support to our youths, entrepreneurs, artisans and other unemployed residents of Lagos State.
“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.”
He commended the management of the board for following a seamless and unbiased process, adding that the board and Management of the Fund embarked on a comprehensive review of the business environment and developed a strategic framework and operating guidelines to ensure the sustainable and successful management of these funds.
“We are funding 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.
The governor charged the beneficiaries to make good use of the fund, stressing that it is a loan that must be repaid back so as to assist other people opportunity to benefit from the same gesture.
“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 5 jobs around that business value chain.
“These loans have been provided at a very affordable rate of 5 percent per annum, far cheaper than the prevailing bank interest of 25 percent 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.
Ambode explained that the beneficiaries were selected beneficiaries from the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Agencies, and provided an opportunity for the Fund to tests its processes ahead of a full rollout next month.
“I urge all Lagos residents, irrespective of your tribe, religion or gender to apply for this scheme. It is for everybody.