Lagos grants N4.9b loans to 5,800 businesses, targets digital economy

Lagos State government has granted N4.9 billion loans to 5,800 small and medium scale businesses.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akin Oyebode, has disclosed.

He said in an interview that the loans were granted under the LSETF, which Governor Akinwunmi Ambode created to boost the businesses of unemployed residents in the state.

He promised that the number of beneficiaries would hit 15, 000 at the end of the year.

“We even expect an improvement in the later years, if businesses key into our innovation-driven enterprise framework-Lagos Ennovate, which is a set of programmes designed to support innovation-driven start-ups in the state.

“Our goal is to make Lagos the destination for innovation and technology in Africa. Already, we have raised $1 million from the United Nations Development Programme to drive this,” he said.

Oyebode, who said the Ambode-led economy is critical about transforming Lagos into a digital economy, added that there were certain criteria that must be met before any business could access the loan.

He explained: “We are looking for credibility and clarity. We are looking for those who have not misrepresented their performance; people who know exactly what they are using the loan for, without inflating the cost of goods or the services that they want to pay for.

“We are looking people who, when we go and do credit checks, they have not been owing banks without repaying, they have not issued bounced cheques or lied about where they live or the size of their businesses.”

According to him, the LSETF verifies all the claims of applicants and does not necessarily make impossible demands.

“We are not asking anybody to bring their grandmother’s hair, or a collateral. But we are only asking for, is integrity. This is a tax payers’ funded project, so we need to show that we are looking at the right things to ensure that we get value from it,” Oyebode said.

He disclosed that statistics of the loans repayment have been impressive, adding that thousands of jobs have been created through LSETF loans.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State government said it has disbursed N200million to 10, 000, from the first phase of its Women Empowerment Programme.

Under the schemed, each of the women would get N20, 000.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Modupe Alade disclosed this in a programme on Ekiti Television (EKTV).

The SSG explained that the beneficiaries were selected from across all sectors of the state without recourse to any political affiliation.