The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday, November 26, 2018, during cheque presentation ceremony for another batch of more than two thousand (2000) beneficiaries of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund loans, which took place at Blue-Roof, LTV 8, Ikeja, Lagos, charged the new beneficiaries to join the league of previous beneficiaries of the Loan Scheme that have continued to provide jobs for Lagosians.
The Governor, who revealed that he has disbursed N7Billion to 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises and created 25,348 new jobs in three years, advised the new beneficiaries to grow their businesses, create jobs for the unemployed, contribute to the growth of the state GDP and most importantly, repay the loans given to them. He also urged the beneficiaries to pay their taxes, noting that it was from the tax payers’ money his administration established the fund.
“It is from this same common wealth we are able to invest in security, build and maintain infrastructure and provide individual and collective social needs. Our expectations of today’s beneficiaries is to emulate the over one thousand and five hundred (1,500) beneficiaries, who have successfully repaid their loans.
It is because of people like them that we continue to revolve the capital being used for these various programmes. It is our belief that, years from now, the programmes we have built today will produce notable businesses’ that Lagos State can be proud of. I am assured also, that our gubernatorial candidate for All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, has also committed himself to this Employment Trust Fund Programme, and I believe it will be sustained and continued,” he stated.
Ambode, who described LSETF as his administration’s foundational initiative and the little seed sowed by the administration, which has now grown in Lagosians’ lives and businesses stressed that in order to end unemployment in the state, other programmes have been championed by LSETF. He talked about Employability Programme, where three thousand, three hundred and sixty three (3,363) participants were trained and more than one thousand, one hundred (1,100) of them were successfully placed on jobs. He commended UNDP for supporting this and expressed his belief that their target to train 10,000 people is achievable. He said equipping youths with world-class skills for 21st century workplace was the target of the employability programme.
He continued that Lagos Innovates, another initiative of LSETF, which supports Lagos for vibrant tech ecosystem, has awarded seventy five (75) startups with workspace vouchers, while thirty million naira (N30,000,000) was issued in loans to hub owners. He said that with the fund, he has been able to fulfill the promise he made to Lagosians about employment and wealth creation in the year 2015.
The Governor reflected his joy over what many Lagosians have done through the fund after watching a video clip of Ibrahim Shuaib, a final year student of Dentistry in Lagos State University Medical School. He stated that with the loan of just two hundred and fifty thousand (N250,000,000), Ibrahim had not only grown his dry cleaning business and employed more than twenty (20) people, but he had also started another business, which is being managed by his sister. Another person he spoke about was Femi Oyedipe, whose chocolate production business known as “Lushes Chocolate” is now producing ten (10) times more than before, and by getting cocoa beans, he uses from Ondo State, he has promoted inter-state economic partnership and also created values for farmers outside Lagos.
He concluded his speech by thanking the board members of LSETF for showing high level of integrity with the money in their care and by inviting partners to the scheme. He also praised the Lagos State House of Assembly for its relentless effort over the fund, especially the house committee on wealth creation.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, described the event as historic due to another fulfilment of promise made by Governor Ambode-led inclusive administration.
She charged the beneficiaries to support the State Government by paying their taxes. She warned them too not to spend the money being given to them on the forthcoming Christmas or any celebration, insisting that the loan is not meant for such things.
In her own welcome address, the Chairman, LSETF Board of Trustees, Mrs. Itueko Omoigu Okauru, stated that according to statistics, unemployment rate in Lagos state in 2017 was 327 percent, adding it was not surprising due to the daily migration of people into the State in large numbers. She said that despite the thriving economy in the State, there would always be pressure on the State to create opportunities for its growing population. Mrs. Okauru explained that this had prompted the board to seek partnership for opportunities so that further significant action can be taken on the unemployment situation.
She, therefore, commended those partners that have seen the dedication and commitment of Lagos State Government led by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and keyed into its laudable initiative of wealth creation and employment. These partners, according to her, include, Ford Foundation, IBM, Coca-cola, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Stanbic IBTC Bank, Tosin Anibaba Memorial Foundation, Hon. Wale Raji, Hon. S.O.B. Agunbiade; Lagos Island Local Government, Ojo Local Government, Itire Local Government and Apapa Local Government. She announced that these partners have all provided additional fund for the scheme.
Mrs. Okauru called for accolades for Governor Ambode, whom she said his vision gave birth to the Trust Fund and that the vision has continued to make Lagosians enjoy good standard of living through good employability and wealth creation, which have touched fifty seven (57) Local Government areas and LCDAs in the State.
She informed the unprecedented crowd that gathered at the event that Governor Ambode made fund available for the programme without any interference unless the Board needed his attention, which, she said, he has never denied them. Mrs. Okauru also commended the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and the entire members of the Assembly for ensuring that law and operating guidelines of the fund were passed at the right time, and for continuing to provide over-sight to ensure its programmes affect all Lagosians. She equally appreciated the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and other ministries, agencies and departments in the State for their contribution to the success story of the LSETF scheme.