Lagos unveils state-owned microfinance bank to boost small businesses

Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade

The Lagos State government commissioned a Microfinance Bank (MFB) at the weekend to boost financial inclusion and aid to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade disclosed that the initiative was aimed at reducing poverty and unemployment in the state.

His words “This is another milestone in the history of financial inclusion of Lagos State. Recently, the committee on financial inclusion put together by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) visited the state and observed that about 70 per cent of the people benefitted from financial inclusion in Lagos.

“Given the figure, we are concern about the remaining 30 percent that wants to be financially included and that is the reason why Ibile Micro Finance Bank has come to stay.

“This will be a platform for financial support and soft loans for the people that may not have access to finance, especially women, artisans and young people that the government may not be able to employ in the formal sense.

“This initiative will ensure that the state Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) is further enhanced thereby positioning it for all-inclusive growth.”

Chairman of the bank, Kolawole Taiwo said the government would ensure that the people get the dividends of democracy through access to opportunities that would improve their standard of living.

Kolawole, who was the immediate past deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly, stressed that the bank was established in January 2017 to carry out microfinance banking activities, adding that it would help reduce poverty, unemployment and enhance financial inclusion in the state.

“Ibile MFB is the main disbursement vehicle to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), which was established by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode with N25 billion to finance 100,000 MSMEs.

Managing Director of the bank, Adegboyega Kazeem disclosed that it would partner with the CBN on the N220 billion Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), which would enable it disburse low interest loans to qualified MSMEs to boost their businesses and the state economy.

He added that the bank would also partner with the Bank of Industry (BOI), as well as foreign and domestic interventionist institutions to ensure access to finance and capital by small business owners.

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