By Yinka Kolawole
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) said it has disbursed about N6billion to 8,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state since the inception of the Fund about two years ago.
Executive Secretary, LSETF, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, who disclosed this when some research students visited his office, said the scheme has also led to the creation of about 25,000 direct jobs and thousands of other indirect jobs in the state.
LSETF is a N25 billion fund set aside the Lagos State government to be disbursed over a period of four years to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among residents of the state.
Oyebode stated: “The Fund is primarily targeted at MSMEs and I can tell you that in the last two years, we have been able to fund about 8,000 businesses with over N6 billion. Our target is to ensure that we increase that number to at least 15,000 (beneficiaries) before the end of the year.”
He said the impact of the Fund was already been felt as it has created at least 25,000 direct jobs for skilled persons and thousands of other indirect jobs for unskilled persons, adding that the target to create 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs was on course.
“The underlining factor is that people with genuine businesses are keying into the Fund. We believe that when we empower one business owner with fund, he or she would require more hands and that translates to one or two persons off the labour market. At the end of the day, as their businesses are growing and expanding, the economy of the State is also recording appreciable growth,” he said.
According to Oyebode, the government has also concluded plans with some multinational companies and in affiliation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the Lagos State Employability Support Project, to produce 10,000 skilled persons within three years to cater for demand in key sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, entertainment, garment making and tourism and hospitality.
“In addition, the project will place at least 6,000 trained persons in jobs and upgrade the equipment and improve the curriculum at two of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB’s) Colleges,” he said.