By Babajide Komolafe
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday, said arrangements had been concluded to set up a Microfinance Bank to aid artisans and small business operators.
Ambode disclosed this while answering questions from the business community at the 5th edition of the Lagos Corporate Assembly tagged “A-plus meets business” held at the Lagos House Banquet Hall, Alausa.
“We have met with the CBN governor and we believe we should set up a Micro-finance Bank quickly and get our license running to help the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and artisans,” he said.
Ambode said that the bank would be lending to the sector at three per cent rate. The governor said he was passionate about locally produced goods, explaining that the Employment Trust Fund established by his administration and the Micro-finance Bank would boost the state’s economy and reduce unemployment.
He said that the goal of the state government was to improve the ease of doing business.
Ambode assured the sector of his administration’s commitment to maintain a business-friendly environment.
He also commended his predecessor Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for creating the platform and promised to sustain it by holding it twice. Earlier in their presentation, the business community, including the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and National Association of Small Scale Industrialists complained about deplorable roads, multiplicity of taxes and traffic gridlock.
They appealed to the government to address the challenges, saying they were hindering the growth of businesses. In his address, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr .Rotimi Ogunleye, said the state would continue to assist the sector to maximise its potential for greater contribution to the state’s GDP.