By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that the sum of N2 billion has been released to entrepreneurs, artisans and others in the state under the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) programme in the last quarter.
Speaking on Thursday at the commissioning of ultra-modern headquarters of Providus Bank in Lagos, the Governor also said N16.9 billion was released for the payment of arrears to pensioners in the state between April 2016 and March 2017.
According to him, his administration has maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructural development and engaging competent local contractors who in turn employ the people.
Mr Ambode noted that as a government, his administration was relentless in its commitment to providing a conducive, safe and secure enabling environment for businesses to thrive, adding that efforts were being made daily to improve the ease of doing business in the State especially by working to ensure that all businesses have all they require to succeed, even in a recession.
While alluding to a recent report of World Economics suggesting that the Nigerian economy would soon grow out of recession, Governor Ambode expressed delight at the fact that the consistent investment of the State Government in critical sectors contributed to the resurgence of the economy.
He called for a convergence in the foreign exchange rates as well as deliberate strategy to force down the inflation to a single digit and reduce interest rates, saying that such would enable more business people to access funds and meet their obligations.
“We have maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructural development and engaging competent local contractors who in turn employ our people.
“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed almost N2 billion in the last quarter to young entrepreneurs and artisans. We have released N16.9 billion for payment of arrears to pensioners in the State between April 2016 and March 2017.
“Our Light Up Lagos initiative has given traders and artisans extended time to carry out their businesses as we move towards our 24/7 economy. With these actions, we energized the economy and ensured that commercial activities continued in the State,” Mr Ambode said.
He commended the management of Providus Bank for their commitment to positively impact the banking sector and urged them to come up with programmes that would bring more financial inclusion to Lagos specifically in the area of access to financial services.
“I urge you, as financial intermediaries, to facilitate the growth of the economy by designing products for the real sector thereby supporting made-in-Nigeria goods.
“I also urge you to pay special attention to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises because these are the fastest vehicles for job creation and growing new businesses,” Mr Ambode said.
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