LSETF seals N20 million pact with lawmaker on women empowerment

Under the agreement, we will offer loans of up to N500, 000 to constituents in Epe with Raji paying the interest on behalf of the beneficiaries.

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has signed a partnership agreement with Wale Raji Women Empowerment Scheme (WRWES), a brainchild of representative of Epe Constituency in the House of Representatives, Wale Raji, to provide loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

Under the arrangement, the lawmaker would provide N10 million, while the LSETF would provide counterpart funding of N10 million for the Scheme. Besides, Raji would provide the five per cent annual interest rate originally meant to be paid the on loans to ease the burden on the beneficiaries.

Under the pact, women business owners and promoters, within Epe constituency would get interest free loans from the LSETF to invest in their businesses. The LSETF would act as the administrator of the scheme while the Ibile Microfinance Bank would be the custodian of the funds.

Speaking while signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Lagos, Executive Secretary of LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode, said the project was a step in the right direction as it answers the LSETF’s call for funding partnership from individuals, private organisations, donor agencies and not-for-profit organisations for its programmes aimed at reducing unemployment.

Oyebode said it would boost small and medium businesses capacity through access to affordable financing and providing training for the unemployed.

“Today we are signing an agreement between LSETF and Wale Raji’s Foundation. Under the agreement, we will offer loans of up to N500, 000 to constituents in Epe with Raji paying the interest on behalf of the beneficiaries. As a result of this arrangement, the loans will be available to the beneficiaries at zero interest rate.

“This is a great model for proper representation and we also ask well-meaning Nigerians in Lagos State who wants to run similar programmes in their communities to please contact the Trust Fund,” Oyebode said.

He charged beneficiaries to be responsible lenders to ensure smaller business equally benefits from the scheme, stating that beneficiaries should use the money responsibly by investing all of it in their businesses.

Speaking, Raji said the partnership was necessary to improve small and medium scale businesses in Epe and Lagos State in general. He noted that the MoU was a fulfillment of his campaign promises to provide loans to businesswomen in the constituency.

Raji disclosed that plans were being perfected for another arrangement to carry the men along in the empowerment programme by accessing loans to invest in their businesses.

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