Lagos’ target to create one million jobs in two years in achievable, participants at the maiden Alimosho Economic Summit agreed in Lagos yesterday, ROBERT EGBE, who was at the summit reports
Lagos State is on track to creating one million jobs by 2019, Executive Secretary Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) Akintunde Oyebode said yesterday.
According to him, boosting start-ups through the financing of small business which the LSETF has been undergoing will facilitate the creation of jobs. He also identified the need for stable electricity supply.
Oyebode stated this at the first Alimosho Economic Summit – a direct focus on Alimosho Local Government Area, the largest in Lagos and one of the largest in the country.
The summit was endorsed by The Nation and The Alimosho Mail. It had ‘Exploring real investment opportunities for economic and development rebirth’, as its theme
Oyebode, speaking on Alimosho city: “Real investment opportunities, positioning for rebirth”, said the government had set aside billions of naira to help Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) obtain finance to grow their businesses.
He said Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s goal is to fund 100,000 businesses and create one million jobs by 2019.
Oyebode said 223 businesses in Alimosho Local Government had received N212 million cash from LSETF to fund their operations.
He said: “The plan is to empower and build the capacity of MSMEs and stimulate new startups, by increasing investment in high value sectors to create more job opportunities, in turn boosting the state’s competitiveness.
“The Lagos State government’s goal is to increase the available financing opportunities for MSMEs and encourage private and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to set up development and productive investment projects that will increase employment for Lagos residents.
“LSETF has supported 223 residents of Alimosho by financing 178 micro enterprises with the sum of N62m and 45 SMEs with over N150million. This is a testament to the governor’s vision, not just for Alimosho, but the entire state.”
Oyebode identified inadequate power supply and inaccessibility to finance as two major challenges of MSMEs and said the LSETF would back businesses to overcome them.
Alimosho, he noted, with a population of over four million, was like a mini country and with its vast land mass and peaceful society, could attract investments that will transform its economy.
The Nation Editorial Board Chairman, Mr. Sam Omatseye, said Alimosho’s status as the largest local government area in Lagos and one of most populated in the country made the summit a necessity.
“Alimosho is perhaps the largest local government area in the country. It is as big as Bayelsa State,” he noted.
Quoting, Ambode, Omatseye said that majority of the thousands of people who arrive in Lagos daily, choose Alimosho as their area of residence.
He said: “A majority of major businesses and their customers are here. I urge the summit participants to seek how Alimosho, as an economic hub, can be made vibrant and self-sustaining that other local governments can emulate.”
The summit, which featured several panelists and three plenary sessions, considered topics including: “Community infrastructure and security: Strategies, hopes and gains” and SMEs in agribusinesses, transport and local content: Way forward for communities”.
A panelist, Andrew Idowu, said Alimosho had been chosen by a firm as the first recipient in Lagos of an embedded power project that would provide steady and affordable power supply to residents and businesses.
Sole Administrator of the Alimosho Council, Gani Quadri, who said he wanted the summit to be a yearly event, thanked the governor for his support.
“Governor Ambode is a gift to Alimosho. We have benefitted immensely from his government”, he said.
Dangote Group, Bank of Industry (BoI), Stanbic IBTC, crescent Allure International and Accion Microfinance Bank were some of the strategic partners of the summit.
Alimosho Mail Publisher Lazarus said Alimosho was long overdue for the summit because of its political relevance in the State of Aqua Splendour.
According to Lazarus, if unlocked and properly harnessed, the opportunities created by the summit could assist Lagos in reaching its N1 trillion budget target.
He said: “Alimosho has always delivered politically. I felt it was time to attract not only political capital, but also economic capital.
“The summit was also inspired by personal experiences. I found out that many people don’t know much about Alimosho.
They meet you on the streets and ask you where Alimosho is, despite its proximity to the international airport. So, we felt we should invite the participants to come see Alimosho for themselves.”
He promised to make the summit an annual event, even as he assured that the lessons from this year’s event would be used to host a better summit next year.
“We’ll take investors to our communities to visit the MSMEs. Alimosho has over 200 MSMEs. If they are properly harnessed, Lagos State’s target of N1 trillion will not be difficult to reach”, Lazarus added.