Akintunde Oyebode, the chief executive officer, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund said not less than 5,800 businesses have benefited approximately N4.9bn from the LSETF, set up by Akinwunmi Ambode, the state governor to lift businesses and unemployed residents in the state.
Oyebode revealed this while speaking at the just concluded 2018 Social Media Week in Lagos. He stated that the number of businesses to benefit from the loan facility would almost triple by the end of the year.
In his words, “by the end of March this year, the number of businesses that have accessed loans would have been raised to 8,000. This number will have hit 15,000 by the end of the year.
“We even expect an improvement in the later years if businesses key into our innovation-driven enterprise framework, the Lagos Ennovate, a set of programmes designed to support innovation-driven start-ups in the state.
“Our goal is to make Lagos the destination for innovation and technology in Africa. Already, we have raised $1m from the United Nations Development Programme to drive this.”
He, however, said that there were certain criteria that must be met before any business could access the loan. The LSETF boss added, “We are looking for credibility. We are looking for those who have not misrepresented their performance.
We are looking for clarity; people who know exactly what they are using the loan for without inflating the cost of goods or services they want to pay for.
“We are looking for people who can repay their loans; people who can show that if they get the loans, they have a clear way of paying back.
We are looking for people who, when we go and do credit checks, they have not been owing banks without repaying; they have not issued bounced cheques or lied about where they live or the size of their businesses.”
According to him, the LSETF verifies all the claims of applicants and does not necessarily make impossible demands. “We are not asking anybody to bring their grandmother’s hair or for a collateral, but we are asking for integrity.
This is a taxpayers’ funded project, so we need to show we are looking at the right things to ensure we get value from it,” Oyebode stated.
He said that statistics from the repayment numbers had been impressive and thousands of jobs had been created by the businesses through the loans they accessed from the LSETF.
“We are also looking at genuine cases of businesses that cannot repay their loans and be proffering solutions as to how we can help. But for those who are unwilling to repay their loans, we are taking legal action against them,” he added.