Ambode disburses N1bn to 705 beneficiaries of N25bn ETF

L-R: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Chairman, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru; Beneficiary, Mrs. Adetola Akitoye of Andy Clarke Confections and Executive Secretary, LSETF, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode during the LSETF Cheque Presentation ceremony to the beneficiaries of the Loan Scheme at the LTV Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Governor 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 and contribute to the growth of the Lagos economy.

Mr. Ambode, who made the presentation at the LTV Blue Roof, Ikeja, Lagos, said 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.

He said the 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.

“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.

Ambode, while commending the board and management of the ETF for embarking on a comprehensive review of the business environment and developing a strategic framework and operating guidelines to ensure the sustainable and successful management of these funds, said the successful disbursement was a product of the painstaking effort.

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,” Ambode said.

In her opening remarks, Chairman, Board of ETF, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, said the presentation of cheques to beneficiaries was in fulfilment of the promise Ambode made during the electioneering campaign and a confirmation of many to come.