The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has declared that the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate in next year’s election, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would sustain his policies if voted in as the governor of the state.
Ambode said this on Monday while presenting cheques to another batch of over 2,000 beneficiaries of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) loan programme at the LTV Blue Roof, Ikeja.
While charging the beneficiaries to use the funds to grow their businesses and pay back as and when due, he expressed optimism about the sustainability of the scheme, saying it was instructive that Sanwo-Olu has already expressed commitment to the initiative.
The Governor said the initiative was meeting his objectives of creating jobs and contributing to the growth of the economy.
This is in addition to the over 10,000 beneficiaries who have received more than N7billion and have created over 25,000 new jobs in the last three years.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at LTV Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Governor Ambode expressed fulfillment that the initiative, which is a brain child of his administration, has positively impacted many Lagosians and help to scale up entrepreneurship with many businesses now thriving.
“Today is a historic day. It is one of those days that we have this fulfilment that we tried our hands on something that was never done before and years after, we are able to see the result and I just want to say a big thank you to all of you that have accepted to be partners in this programme and to just congratulate ourselves that a day like this can come in Lagos State.
“I am particularly delighted to be here today to see for myself the manifestation of a small dream we had at the inception of this government and the little seed we have sown in the lives and businesses of Lagosians. The Employment Trust Fund was a promise we made to Lagosians in 2015 and today, I am happy to see the faces of the people whose lives and aspirations have been positively impacted by this programme,” Ambode said.
While noting the positive difference the beneficiaries of the scheme were making in the state, the Governor said the wonderful stories about the initiative were the true outcomes of governance, saying the vision was to use it to grow the Lagos economy by supporting entrepreneurship, which in turn, would help to create jobs for unemployed residents.
He stated that in line with his promise of inclusive governance, the beneficiaries of the LSETF programmes range from the youth to senior citizens in active business across all 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Community Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos, adding that the positive stories emanating from beneficiaries were pleasing to note.
“A very big validation of this programme we have embarked upon comes from the over 25,000 new direct jobs created directly by these businesses in our State. This does not include the multiplier effect of those businesses on the Lagos economy and the indirect jobs created.
“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,” he said.
Aside the loan, the Governor said he was also proud of another programme of the LSETF known as the Lagos Employability Support Programme being executed in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), revealing that 3,363 unemployed youth have so far been trained out of the 10,000 target, with over 1,100 of them now either employed or running their own businesses.
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