Lagos Commits N25bn To SMEs, Women development*
Lagos State government has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing policies and programmes that will encourage more women participation in governance, harness their full potentials and empower them to become employers of labour and wealth creators.
Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule made the pledge Thursday at the 15th edition of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) annual Conference held at Eko
Hotels % Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Dr Adebule said the state government established the N25 billion Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to invest in Small and Medium scale businesses and support young entrepreneurs especially women to grow their businesses.
She added that the state government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, in collaboration with the Action Health Incorporated, recently launched the Strategic Action Plan for the Marginalized out of schools girls living in some parts of the state, adding that that the focus of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration is to continue to implement programmes and policies that are women focused so as to help them harness their full potential and contribute their quota to the growth of the society.
Dr Adebule, who commended members of WIMBIZ for their commitment and dedication to elevating the status and relevance of women in the country, noted that their efforts in the past had helped to encourage women to contribute more to discussions on nation building and development.
While describing the theme of the 2016 WIMBIZ conference: “The Next Frontier: New Landscape, New Possibilities” as most appropriate and relevant, the deputy governor noted that the conference will provide women with the knowledge, skills and necessary exposure needed to break new grounds while they leverage on various opportunities around them to unleash their full potentials in the development agenda for the country.
Dr. Adebule while noting that a recent research by the BMI Research Company indicated that Nigeria is one of the ten markets in the world where investment in construction and manufacturing thrive, urged women to tap into this opportunity and other areas of investment such as ICT and full
scale agriculture to develop their economy.
As a demonstration of government commitment to women development, the deputy governor disclosed that Lagos State government recently entered into a partnership with the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) just to enable women in the state access
the $300 million earmarked by the African Development Bank (ADB) Affirmative Finance
Action for Women in Africa.
This effort, according to Adebule, is expected to boost and avail women and owners of small scale businesses from the state credit and soft loans to tap into several investments opportunities and free them from the shackle of poverty.
In his keynote address, Professor Adedoyin Salami of the Lagos Business School, challenged women to see themselves as the power block, who by their numerical strength can get themselves into power and influence political discussions to better the lots of women, adding that women are national and international assets that can be used to achieve sustainable development needed by the country.
Earlier in her welcome address ‘WIMBIZ’ Chairperson, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad stated that the focus of the conference was to help women strategically navigate their way out of the negative impact of the current economic recession on their career and businesses and help identify various opportunities that can help them to contribute to the process of revamping the economy.
According to her, the economy is undergoing a slow but significant transformation and it is important that women are well positioned to ensure they remain relevant in the new economic order.