Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Tuesday presented cheques totaling N924.7 million to 1, 438 beneficiaries of the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) scheme initiated by his administration to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.
About 4, 000 businesses have benefited a total of N3.5billion from the scheme, while the target of the State Government is to support about 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises and create at least 300, 000 direct and 600, 000 indirect jobs by 2019 through the initiative.
In January, Ambode presented cheques totaling about N1billion to 705 beneficiaries who were selected after scaling through a transparent screening process. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Ambode expressed delight that the government was on course to meet the objectives of the initiative, adding that it was also encouraging that the previous beneficiaries have started repaying their loans, thereby expanding their businesses and creating jobs.
The Governor was represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Dr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, made particular reference to one of the earlier beneficiaries simply identified as Jand2Gidi, saying that it was a thing of joy that they have started contributing to the growth of Lagos economy.
“One of the success stories of this program which I am very proud of is the achievement of one of the first set of beneficiaries, a company called Jand2Gidi, run by two young women.
“Today, they have invested their loan in buying motorcycles for their delivery men and hired people to operate those motorcycles. Not only are they repaying their loan, they have also created at least 10 direct jobs for Lagos residents, thereby increasing the economic activity across the State. We eagerly expect to celebrate many more success stories like this”.
The Governor, who commended the ETF Board for the good work done so far, equally charged them to increase the pace of work and ensure that by the end of 2017, at least 20,000 businesses would have benefited from the loan program, just as he expressed optimism that the overall target of the scheme would be met by 2019.
While congratulating the beneficiaries, the Governor charged them and other potential beneficiaries to emulate those who are repaying their loans, thereby ensuring the success of the program. He said: “It is only when you pay your loans back, and grow your businesses, that we can truly celebrate the success of this program. Your success is our success, and together we will grow Lagos State’s economy and create jobs for our residents.
“This initiative is another example of taxpayers’ money working for the people. I cannot thank enough all taxpaying citizens for providing the resources from which the State Government contributes N6.25billion tranches annually to the N25billion Employment Trust Fund.”