By Oyebola Owolabi
Lagos State has invested over N103 billon to provide infrastructure to boost downstream contracts for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), it was learnt yesterday.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated this at the opening of the Sixth Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Exclusive Fair at the LTV Blue Roof in Ikeja. The fair has its theme as, ‘’Effect of COVID-19: Charting the way forward for MSMEs’’.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Jaji, said the government was passionately committed to the growth of small businesses.
He noted that government recognised the role of MSMEs in economic emancipation and their pivotal spot in the social economic development of the state. According to him, all have the collective responsibility of ensuring that MSMEs successfully overcome the economic and growth challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “In the last two years, we have committed significant resources to the sustainability of the MSMEs, but the pandemic has further exposed the need for the public and private sector to meticulously develop the capacity of our MSMEs for growth and profitability.
“It is, therefore, a major reason why small businesses can always count on the Lagos State government to provide the necessary backing for trade promotion and business development. We extended the tax-filing deadline by 60 days, and loan moratorium by 90 days, to ease MSMEs’ working capital challenges.
‘’In addition, through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, we have provided low interest loans to MSMEs to the tune of N10 billion. Our investment in MSMEs reflects our goal of making sure that small businesses are technically and financially empowered to generate lasting wealth.”
The governor said that in the last one year, his administration had put in place significant interventions to boost the trade capacity of MSMEs.
This, he said, is to ensure that small businesses in Lagos overcome the challenges of the economic crisis associated with the pandemic, as well as the destruction and looting that followed the EndSARS protest.
The governor added that government was also collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the problem of access to finance by MSMEs. This, according to the governor, explains why the CNN established the N220 billion Micro and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), among other schemes.
He urged relevant stakeholders to collaborate and innovatively chart a new trajectory for economic diversification, growth and sustainability of MSMEs.