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Lagos State Employment Trust Fund targets 1m jobs

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1,400 beneficiaries get N1.7m loan
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has set 2019 date to provide one million jobs, the Executive Secretary of the board, Akintunde Oyebode, has said.

Speaking in Lagos at the weekend, Oyebode said the Board has approved the disbursement of N1.7 billion to 1,400 beneficiaries as part of efforts to develop the skills of unemployed residents and also improve the business environment across the state.

LSETF was launched in 2016 to promote entrepreneurship, improve access to finance, strengthening institutional capacity of Medium and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and formulate policies designed to improve the business environment in the state.

He explained that those beneficiaries are on different levels of fulfilling a requirement for disbursement. He added that in 2019 when the framework would be due for revision, the target would be to have disbursed loans to at least a 100,000 businesses with the overall target of creating at least one million jobs within same period.

According to him: “The scheme is not like traditional lending, it does not require collateral. One of the hallmarks of the scheme is that we are solving two problems; we are solving access to capital and the cost of capital. We are doing this without any form of collateral.

“Our target this year is to support up to 23,000 MSMEs and of course being our first year we expect rise above that in coming years. We also ensure that we had a clear governance process in place to ensure the disbursement is done transparently, unbiased and meets the expectations of the people of Lagos State.”

He disclosed that the Fund is partnering five microfinance banks and three commercial banks to ensure monitoring of loan performance and repayment, adding that there are business development support co-partners who help monitor job creation and formalisation of the businesses.

He listed the beneficiaries to include hairdressers, market women, disc jockeys, people who are baking in their homes, fashion designers, bricklayers, candle making organisation, pure water institutions, people who sell coconut oil for hair and beauty products among others.

He said the Fund is keen on financial inclusion, stating that the beneficiaries are people who have never borrowed money from a financial institution before.

For the future, he said: “We will soon roll out our employability framework where we will identify the skill gap in the industry. So, unlike what we have seen in the past, we are not training people for the sake of training.

The participants at our programme have guarantee employment upon graduation because they now have the required skill to take up existing jobs.”

Oyebode said the Fund had ensured that its programmes are ubiquitous, adding that it has launched an online portal to primarily ensure that people apply for loan programmes online.

For those who are unable to navigate the portal, he disclosed that there are 20 liaison offices set up across local government councils in Lagos state where application forms can be picked up at no cost.


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