By Merit Ibe
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday declared the Lagos international trade fair close, with a promise to support the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector to thrive.
Applauding the conduct of the 34th Lagos International trade Fair, by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) despite the COVID 19 invasion, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, deputy governor of Lagos State who represented the governor said the government has continued to develop and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance businesses and investment opportunities for foreign and local investors to tap into.
He noted that the MSMEs remain key factor of creating opportunities for growth and development investment that will continue to generate wealth and job opportunities for our youths.
Hamzat, who was impressed at the number of MSMEs and start –
Ups enterprises standing side by side with older and orthodox businesses at this year’s fair, promised that his government will not stop to support the sector especially in the area of maximising the huge opportunity in the value chain of various sectors of the economy.
He assured that the government will continue to partner the LCCI and the private sector through promotion of fiscal and investment initiatives to ease the burden of doing businesses in the state..
“I commend the business community in Lagos for the support of our various initiatives,policies and strategies aimed at diversifying our investment opportunities and engaging our youths through mentoring and entrepreneurship.”
He sympathised with business owners that were affected by the hijack of the endsars protests, assuring members of the business community that the state government is committed to improving the business environment and making it more attractive and conducive.
The governor said several businesses and business owners had been thrown into a state of confusion, debt and total loss following the vandalism and destruction.
He said:”As a government, we are doing all we can to restore hope and to also help these businesses get back on their feet.
“We understand that restoring our city will entail giving hope and succor to entrepreneurs and business owners, and in order to cushion the effect of all that has happened to them, we have provided avenues to give financial support in the forms of loans and grants.
“The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSTEF) is partnering with the private sector players to help businesses whose properties were looted or vandalised
“We have also created a N2.5 billion Lagos Recovery Fund for looted businesses, and so far, over 2,500 business owners have applied.”
On her part, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande, commended the ministry and the LCCI for the fair which has been a resounding success.
She noted that the conduct has been a restatement to drive economic growth in the MSMEs sector.
She noted that they have been partners in the business of ensuring good policy direction for economic prosperity for the state and Nigeria at large, through its policy advocacy which has been yielding results.
She said the theme of the fair, Connecting businesses, Creating value, has proven appropriate at this time due to the increasing urgent need for the nation to diversify her economy through networking and value addition in light of the COVID 19 health crisis and looming economic recession.
President of the LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, appreciated all those who contributed to the huge success of the hybrid fair.