Keynote Address By The His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, At The Cheque Presentation Ceremony To Beneficiaries Of The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

Keynote Address By The His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, At The Cheque Presentation Ceremony To Beneficiaries Of The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

I am delighted to be here today to see 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. I have seen videos and heard stories of the wonderful things our beneficiaries are doing all over Lagos and these, for me, are the true outcomes of governance.

 

Through the State Employment Trust Fund, we had a vision to grow the Lagos economy by supporting entrepreneurship, which in turn will create jobs for our unemployed residents.

 

With this batch of beneficiaries, the LSETF has now disbursed over N7 billion in loans to over 10,000 beneficiaries. In line with our promise of inclusive governance, almost half of these loans were given to women; while the beneficiaries range from the youth to our senior citizens in active business. In addition, the Fund has ensured that all 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Community Development Areas (LCDAs) have felt its impact.

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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 its 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.

 

Another LSETF programme that we are very proud of is the Lagos Employability Support Programme, under which we have trained 3,363 unemployed youth and over 1,100 of them are now either employed or running their own businesses.

 

I thank the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) for supporting this initiative. I am confident that their target to train 10,000 of our young people is achievable.

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You will all agree with me that the future is tech and our Employment Trust Fund is poised to make Lagos the leading destination for Africa’s most exciting talent and start-ups. Under the Lagos Innovates Programme, 75 start-ups have been awarded workspace vouchers which provides their businesses with access to excellent infrastructure and a community where they can incubate and pursue their dream of becoming Africa’s emerging unicorns; without bearing the associated cost. We have also awarded a loan to one of the leading hubs, to expand and incubate more technology start-ups in the Lagos environs.

 

Our commitment to women is evident in the number of women who are beneficiaries of the programmes of this Fund. Before today we had a total of 3,652 female loan beneficiaries to the 4,280 male loan beneficiaries. Under our Lagos Employability Support Programme, women represent 49% of the total number of young people that LSETF has trained while in our Lagos Innovates programme which supports a tech ecosystem dominated by men, 21% of the beneficiaries are women.

 

In spite of this, the Fund has assured me of their work to increase the level of female participation across all programmes, especially within Lagos Innovates.

To today’s beneficiaries, I congratulate you all and charge you to grow your businesses, create jobs for the unemployed, contribute to the growth of the Lagos GDP, and most importantly, repay your loans. As your Government, we can only provide the funds for programmes like this if you perform your civic duties, which is why I once again urge all of you to continue paying your taxes.

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It is from this commonwealth that we are able to deliver programmes like the LSETF; invest in security; build and maintain infrastructure; and provide for our individual and collective social needs.

 

Our expectation of today’s beneficiaries is to emulate the over 1,500 beneficiaries who have successfully repaid their loans. It is because of beneficiaries like them that we continue to revolve the capital being used for LSETF’s various programmes. It is our belief that many years from now, the foundation we have laid today will produce notable businesses that Lagos State can be proud of.

 

I commend the Chairman, Executive Secretary, Board and Staff of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for translating our dream to reality and bringing it to Lagosians. I also thank the Honourable Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary and all staff of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment. The Employment Trust Fund thrives today because of their total commitment to the prospect of empowering Lagos residents with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

 

Finally, I thank the Lagos State House of Assembly, especially the House Committee on Wealth Creation and Employment, who have been relentless in their support for this initiative.  Their oversight and ideas have greatly enhanced the outcomes we are seeing today.

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I look forward to hearing more success stories from beneficiaries of the programmes of our Employment Trust Fund. The Lagos State Government will continue to support this programme and we welcome more institutional partners and collaborators. We have only just laid the foundation; there is still a lot more to be done but I am confident that this story will only get better.

 

I thank you all.

Itesiwaju ipinle Eko l’o je wa logun!

FG Expands Tradermoni Scheme To Three Additional Markets In Lagos

FG Expands Tradermoni Scheme To Three Additional Markets In Lagos

The Federal Government on Monday launched the special enterprise and empowerment programme otherwise known as TraderMoni in three additional markets in Lagos, with an assurance that the scheme would be extended to two million beneficiaries by December 2018 across the country.

The TraderMoni scheme, which is a collateral and interest-free loan for petty traders, had earlier been launched in some markets in Lagos, while three additional markets in the State – Ketu, Bariga and Oshodi were added to the scheme by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), accompanied by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate in the State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The trio, while inspecting implementation of the scheme, took time to interact with petty traders in the markets, assuring that government would continue to come up with innovative initiatives to benefit the critical mass of the population.

Giving details, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said close to 800,000 petty traders had so far benefited from the scheme, adding that the programme had been structured for traders to borrow up to N50,000 and repay back seamlessly.

“The TraderMoni scheme is part of the socio-investment programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the plan is to ensure that between September and December this year, two million petty traders receive the first payment of N10,000. Once they are able to return it within six months, they get additional N15,000 and when they return that, they get another N20,000 until they get as much as N50,000.

“The whole idea is that the President wants to ensure that traders that are at the bottom of the ladder; people whose wares and businesses are just about N3000, N5000 and so on; people who normally don’t get any kind of financial assistance; people that the banks do not give any kind of credit because they have no collateral are not left out in what they are doing in our micro credit scheme.

“This was what informed the TraderMoni Programme and today, it has gone to several states and the Vice President is in Lagos today to see what is happening in three additional markets. The VP is here to see what is happening and to interact with the traders, as well as to assure all Nigerians as a matter of fact that this is going to go round,” Akande said.

He added that at the end of the first batch, the government would take it further to ensure that more traders benefit from the scheme.

“In the first batch of the scheme, we will be doing two million traders and after that, we will even take it further. Between now and December, we would have given to two million petty traders. Already, we have close to 800,000 petty traders out of the two million. We have enumerated all the two million traders and so we know who they are and so it is a question of time,” he said.

Oshodi Transport Interchange: Lagos Targets First Quarter 2019 Delivery Date

Oshodi Transport Interchange: Lagos Targets First Quarter 2019 Delivery Date

…Says Project Now At 83 Per Cent Completion Stage

The Lagos State Government on Monday said the ongoing Oshodi Transport Interchange conceived and being implemented to evolve a seamless way by which Lagosians commute across the State on a daily basis would be completed within the first quarter of 2019.

Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya, in a statement on the state of the project, said it was gratifying to report that substantial progress had been made towards its completion.

The Commissioner added that with the ongoing pace of works, the project would be completed within the first quarter of 2019, and operations commencing soon after, saying that commuters around the State should look forward to having a comfortable, accessible and world-class transport system.

Ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange at an advanced stage, being built by the Lagos State Government.
Ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange at an advanced stage, being built by the Lagos State Government.

Besides, Akinsanya commended motorists and residents in the State for cooperating with government in the implementation of the project, just as he assured that all hands were on deck to expedite work and complete it on schedule.

According to him, “At the moment, 83 per cent total work progress has been achieved, including completion of piling works on the three terminals and completion of the piling works for the Skywalks.

“Among others, we have also completed works on the pile caps for the three terminals, concrete works of the buildings, ground floor works on all the loading bays for the three terminals, erection of steelworks for the Skywalks and terminals and Taxi Park and car park area, while road works around the terminal are at an advanced stage as well as bus holding bays around the terminals also at an advanced stage,” Akinsanya said.

Ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange at an advanced stage, being built by the Lagos State Government.
Ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange at an advanced stage, being built by the Lagos State Government.

The Oshodi Transport Interchange Project (OTIP) which is part of the Bus Reform Initiative of the State Government, is an iconic infrastructure designed to transform the axis forever and enhance connectivity.

The project, in a nutshell, seeks to transform Oshodi into a world-class Central Business District (CBD) with business, travel and leisure activities conducted in a serene, secure, clean, orderly and hygienic environment, comparable with other transport terminals around the world including Stratford and Victoria Bus Station in the United Kingdom.

The project, on completion, would consolidate all the 13 city and interstate bus parks into three multi-storey terminals, providing standard facilities including waiting area, loading bays, ticketing stands, drivers lounge, parking areas, rest rooms, accessible walkways and pedestrian sky-walks linking all the terminals.

Empowerment Of All Groups, Key To Ending Extreme Poverty

Empowerment Of All Groups, Key To Ending Extreme Poverty

…Says Lagos Already Implementing Key Policies To Ensure Inclusion, Prosperity

…Delivers 75th Anniversary Lecture At Island Club

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday said if Nigeria must get out of the woods, it must begin now to take concrete steps towards empowering every group in the society and give ears to their views and aspirations, saying it is only in such situation that the country can truly end extreme poverty.

Governor Ambode, who said this while delivering a paper to commemorate the 75th Anniversary Business Lecture of the Island Club, said Nigeria must aggressively pursue strong social inclusion policies in order to build a virile nation where every member of the society, regardless of their status or creed is catered for.

Speaking on the topic ‘Nation Building: Communities, Inclusion and Prosperity’, the Governor said presently there were various indices that present a worrying picture, stressing that the country must address it by taking actions that would change the narrative and engender prosperity.

“A sustainable path towards ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity also involves creating an inclusive society, not only in terms of economic welfare but also in terms of the voice and empowerment of all groups.

“We must begin to realise that every strata of the society counts, we must listen and accommodate all views, whether they are poor, whether they are Igbos, Hausas, whether they are Muslims or Christians. An inclusive society must have the institutions, structures and processes that empower local communities, professional associations, artisans, CDAs so they can hold government accountable.

“It also requires the participation of all groups in society, including traditionally marginalised groups such as ethnic minorities and indigenous populations in decision making processes,” he said.

Highlighting the Lagos example of inclusion and prosperity, Governor Ambode said his administration in the last three years, despite the population and migration challenges vis-a-vis pressure on physical and social infrastructure, has continued to carry out massive upgrade of its infrastructure, which according to him would have improve the lives of all residents and ultimately the economy.

“We believe that every Lagosian must have the opportunity to grow, develop their own skills and contribute to their families and communities in a meaningful way.

“If they are healthy, well educated and trained to enter the workforce and are able to make a decent wage, they are better equipped to meet their basic needs and be successful. Their families will also do well and the whole society will benefit. The aggregate sum of family well-being is the meat for nation building,” he said.

The Governor said that his administration has concentrated on creating an environment for investments to thrive, saying that deliberate steps were also taken to encourage the private sector to take the front seat and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

He listed development of Tourism, Hospitality, Arts, Sports and Entertainment sectors, development of an integrated and modern inter-modal transportation system, Employment Trust Fund, CodeLagos and Ready-Set-Work as some of the strategies evolved over the last three years that has recorded huge impact in the State’s economy.

“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed N5.84billion to 7, 880 Lagosians out of which 1,123 have fully repaid their loans. This is a revolving fund that targets inclusion and prosperity.

“Over 25,000 jobs were created through the loans and employability programmes and to ensure inclusion, 3,613 women recievedN2.29billion while N1.44billion was disbursed to individuals less than 35 years and at least N100million in each local government of the State,” Governor Ambode said.

“In terms of inclusion and prosperity, our vision to make Lagos safer and more prosperous is driven by the need to foster and build an inclusive society, a Lagos that works for all of us. This has been our primary focus in the last three and half years.

“This vision of making Lagos Africa’s model mega city and global economic and financial hub is reflected in everything that we have been doing, bringing our communities together to ensure the future prosperity of Lagos State is non negotiable. I am convinced that we are on the right trajectory and that’s the way to go if Lagos is going to show a very good example to the rest of the country,” he said.

Recommending the way forward, Governor Ambode said to ensure inclusion and evolve prosperous communities; social policy needs to move beyond conventional social service approaches towards development’s goals of equitable opportunity and social justice.

Expressing optimism that the Nigeria economy was showing positive indices of recovery and encouraging outlook for the future, the Governor, however, said economists had posited that for Nigeria to attain its potential, the economy needs to move at a growth rate of six to seven per cent per year as the population growth was above three per cent.

“To meet our growth ambition, we need jobs and we need to increase productivity too. Nigeria has the advantage of a large population, but the majority are under-skilled. It is imperative to equip workers with the skills needed to keep pace with an economy in transition like Nigeria,” he said.

“We need to close that in economic and political gap between women and men in this country. Providing both girls and boys with education is going to be our first step. Quality education is the basis for job and income, a modern competitive economy needs the best heads and hands regardless of gender. This is just sound economics and simple common sense.

“Government needs to implement structural reforms to enhance efficiency, making valued long term investment in technology and science to support research and development. In addition, government also needs to support the economy to provide jobs for their fast growing job population,” Governor Ambode said.

Earlier, Chairman of Island Club in his welcome address thanked Governor Ambode for his support to the Club since he assumed office, saying that he had not only followed the footsteps of his predecessors as Patron of the Club, but had on some occasions, moved a notch further than they did.

Also speaking, a former chairman of the Club, Chief Olumuyiwa Falomo lauded the Governor for his developmental strides in the last three and half years, assuring him that history would be kind to him.

“Only God knows the future, just carry on regardless, the reward of being very conscientious with what you do will come sooner than later and my prayer for you is that God will guide you and the sky will be your limit,” Falomo said.

Highlight of the lecture was the launch of the anniversary brochure and the commissioning of the car park project initiated by the club.

Entertainment Industry Key To Nigeria’s Economic Growth

Entertainment Industry Key To Nigeria’s Economic Growth

…As VP Holds Special Evening With Stakeholders In Lagos

 

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday evening re-emphasised the importance of the entertainment industry to Nigeria’s economic growth, assuring that the sector would continue to enjoy support to maximize its potentials.

 

The duo spoke at an event organised for entertainers and tagged “An Evening with the Vice President” held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island and was well attended by scores of entertainers including actors, comedians and musicians, among others.

 

Osinbajo reassured stakeholders in the entertainment industry of the Federal Government’s commitment to support them to enhance national growth and development, adding that they remain key players in the nation’s all round development and Government was not oblivious of it.

 

The Vice President said he had met frequently with entertainers with a view to developing policies around the industry for economy growth, revealing that the government decided to create Technology and Creativity Advisory Council to see how the government could move the industry forward through proper policies, especially on how to address the issue of piracy.

 

“No sensible politician can ignore entertainers; if you do, you do so at your own risk. Entertainers also cannot ignore politicians; it is impossible. If you do, you do so at your own peril.

 

“Already, there is a lot going on. Your industry has to respond to what is going on. This industry is important and crucial to our economy.

 

“We must set up the environment that will make it happen. No environment is completely ready; whatever it is that we have at the moment, we have to make the maximum use of it to grow this industry,” he said.

 

He said it was gratifying that some entertainers were already in politics and urged others to participate, in order to make a change and a difference.

 

“Your support is actually important. What we need to do is to sit together and solve the problem. The country is what it is today because some people stole the treasure,” he said.

 

In his remarks, Governor Ambode said the State had always been the hub for entertainers and would continue to support the industry to grow the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

He also called for synergy between the Government and entertainers in order to create a convergence to grow the economy of not just the State, but also Nigeria.

 

“I just want to promise this time around that whatever it is that we have done as a government in the last three and half years, we have proven that the arts and entertainment industry can actually create a convergence with the culture of the city and then promote tourism using that convergence to grow the economy of Lagos and we have proven that.

 

“So, beyond our action there are other things that have to do with the framework, the things that have to do with copyright and access to capital to promote the entertainment industry and I hope that within the next one hour, we should be able to tell ourselves the truth on which way we can actually push this synergy to create that grows the GDP, not only of Lagos but the GDP of the whole country and we would be able to attract tourists to this country,” Governor Ambode said.

 

Also speaking, Sen. Goodwill Akpabio, who promised to support the industry as he had also been, assured the entertainers of government’s readiness to help them on issues of legislation.

 

Akpabio, who noted that the artistes were ambassadors of the country, urged them to promote Nigeria’s oneness.

 

Many of the artistes, who spoke at the event, identified the challenges in the industry as piracy, distribution of artistic works, poor power supply, lack of infrastructure, censorship, licensing, and access to credit facilities, among others.