Aftermath of pandemic, #EndSARS protest disruption, Lagos unveils N1b palliative fund for businesses
Adversely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protests, which had dominated much of 2020, businesses in the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors can now apply for the N1 billion Lagos State seed capital investment through the palliative eligibility form.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf.
According to her, the state has designed a palliative eligibility form to take the applications of qualified practitioners for its N1 billion seed capital investment in the hospitality, tourism, and entertainment sector.
She told The Guardian that the government came up with this critical palliative because the pandemic hit tourism badly.
“It has been so challenging for practitioners, even as a government too. Tourism is about the movement and gathering of people and this is why the sector is the worst hit.
“As a government, immediately after the lockdown, we set up a pandemic review committee where all the stakeholders came up with a proposal on what government should do. The document was submitted and it was approved by Mr Governor, one of which is the N1 billion palliative loan that we will be disbursing from the first quarter of next year.”
Continuing, Akinbile-Yussuf noted that just when practitioners were recovering from the months of lockdown occasioned by the pandemic, the #EndSARS protests, which lasted weeks further hit many practitioners badly.
“Unfortunately, film one at Lekki, the best cinema in Lagos was burnt down during the #EndSARS violence. The investment lost there is in billions of naira. We have contacted them to commiserate and see how we can help them pull through.
“As a government, we are thinking beyond oil and the only way out is through agriculture and tourism, which Lagos is tapping into for employment opportunities. The hospitality industry generates huge employment. A single hotel will have a minimum of 10 staff even in a less urban area, not to talk of the big ones. Multiply that by the number of hotels in each neighbourhood.
“The arts stakeholders requested for about 20 theatres across the state. We have only provided four but our prime theatre, which is at Oregun was also burnt down during the #EndSARS protest. Though many activities couldn’t hold this year because of COVID-19, our theatres were utilised for all our virtual events like the Sallah and Independence Day concerts. We can only encourage practitioners to keep hope alive and stay afloat,” she said.
The Commissioner called on all qualified persons with businesses in the sector to fill the eligibility form on the website: http://tsp.lagosstate.gov.ng, and generate a code upon completion of the online form.
Akinbile-Yussuf said although the seed capital is domiciled with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture decided to design a form that would help identify genuine practitioners, who have verifiable information domiciled with the ministry.
“To be considered eligible for the seed capital, all interested practitioners must meet/have the under-listed requirements and documents: a resident of Lagos (LASSRA); business must be within the specified sector, a business must be registered with the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and must be operational for at least one year, among other requirements.”