The Lagos State Government in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has kicked-off the cash-for-work programme for vulnerable people in the State with the aim of cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the flagging off of the intervention programme held at Ndubusi Kanu Park, Alausa, Ikeja, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond described the project as part of government’s response to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vulnerable individuals and small business owners.

According to her, the project which is a collaborative effort between the State government and UNDP with the support of Japan Government will be providing grant to 945 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to resuscitate their businesses which have been affected by the pandemic and the aftermath of the ENDSARS protest.

“As the economic fallout threatens households across the State due to COVID-19, cash transfers to vulnerable families reduce risks to socio-economic challenges. This emergency cash transfer programme is designed to help families during this period and to ensure that household poverty does not translate to deprivations for children,” she said.

She maintained that the project which is simultaneously going on across the Five Divisions of the State is to complement Government’s own efforts in deploying assistance to SMEs, newly vulnerable, newly poor and permanently vulnerable people in the State.

Highlighting the significance of the initiative, Solape stated that the cash-based support programme will not only ensure that essential needs of beneficiaries are met, but also empower the most vulnerable to become self-reliant and participate in economic activities that boost local markets.

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She said the beneficiaries which would be engaged by the State government to provide volunteering services were selected across various social-ethnic group and through the state’s social register for vulnerable people.

While appreciating the United Nations Development Programme, she maintained that government will continue to partner other International Organizations, Non-Governmental Institutions and MDAs to sustain this programme and bring into its net more beneficiaries.

The General Manager of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni while commending the effort of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for driving this initiative, revealed that the state government is desirous of creating opportunities for citizens to live a prosperous life and contribute to the development of the state.

“A new lease of sustainable life is being provided through this intervention, the state government is continuously establishing a prosperous environment for people to live a responsible life,” he affirmed.

In his remark, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Lekan Fatodu emphasised the need for citizens to embrace government’s initiatives to improve their standard of living.

“It takes a responsive government to activate a framework and workforce for effective implementation of this kind of initiative. With this, 2,400 individuals including families were given hope for a better tomorrow, likewise over 900 businesses will be sustained to create more value to our economy,” Fatodu added.

Appreciating the government on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Funmilayo Abohi admitted that the effort will potentially reduce the level of poverty among citizens and help vulnerable families to meet their immediate needs.

Present at the event were the Representative of the Chairman House Committee on SDGs, Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu; Representative of the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperative, Hon. Lola Akande; UNDP Partner, Finpact Development Foundation (FINDEF); the General Secretary, Ohaneze Ndigbo in Lagos, Chief Everest Ozonweke; Representative of the South-South Indigenes in Lagos State, President, Ikale Heritage Development Association, Otunba Sola Olatunji among others.

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