by Usman Alabi
Lagos State Employment Trust Fund on Friday distributed offer letters to some of the beneficiaries of the pilot scheme of the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund, with a pledge to create at least 300, 000 direct and 600, 000 indirect jobs by 2019 through the initiative.
The Executive Secretary of LSETF, Mr Akin Oyebode speaking at the ceremony said the award of the offer letters was in fulfillment of one of the cardinal promises of the Governor Ambode led administration to set up a fund to drive the growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in recognition of their critical role as the engine of growth and leading creator of job in the economy.
“These partners include Price Water Coopers (PWC) who verified all the applications and audit the processes. Others include organizations such as the Fate Foundation, LEAP Africa, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) and Cooperative Societies, who provided applicants for the pilot scheme through their membership,” Oyebode said.
Oyebode said a total of 1,000 MSMEs have been earmarked to benefit from the pilot scheme, out of which 281 micro enterprises have so far been approved.
Oyebode according to punch newspaper said out of those approved, 150 beneficiaries have collected their offer letters. While the process for approval for others in the pilot scheme are ongoing. To ensure transparency and unbiased process, Oyebode said the LSETF engaged partners to help with the selection, verification and disbursement of the loans to the beneficiaries.
While disclosing details of the loan, Oyebode said the beneficiaries of the micro enterprise pilot scheme were given loan approval ranging from N300, 000 to N500, 000 with annual five per cent interest rate.
According to him, the LSETF was in the process of rolling out the N5 million SME loan programme which will provide fund for the sector for up to two years, adding that the N6.25 billion to be disbursed annually through the ETF has already been approved.