Targets political parties, religious, ethnic groups in new palliative scheme
The three months moratorium on loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) granted by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a reprieve of about N410 million, it was learnt yesterday.
There will be no interest payment on the N2.8 billion loan given out by the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds (LSETF). Sanwo-Olu broke the news as he announced the state government’s new palliatives to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on micro and medium-scale businesses.
The loan beneficiaries, who cut across various sectors of the economy, now have their repayment of principal and accruing interest deferred.
“We are supporting small businesses. At LSETF, we have 1,170 SMEs and 2,160 micro enterprises across sectors in agriculture, education, information technology, food processing, transport and so on with total outstanding loan balance of over N2.8 billion. We are granting a three months moratorium on principal and interest worth over N410 million. This will go a long way to reduce the pressure on these businesses as a result of the economy freeze occasioned by COVID-19,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the state would be providing a free meal to 100,000 young people across communities in Lagos on a daily basis, which he said, would be decentralised with each local council having its food kitchen domiciled at a pre-arranged location agreed upon by residents.
The governor also said that residents of each local council would know the food vendors to be engaged by the government for the feeding programme.
Besides, Sanwo-Olu said additional 250,000 vulnerable persons already identified in social registers of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) would be getting conditional cash transfer as a form of support for them in the period of the lockdown. The beneficiaries, he said, would not be part of the people that had already got relief food packages from the government in previous weeks.
He said the new palliatives were carefully drawn out to bring succour to greater number of residents eking out a living from daily wages. Those that will benefit from the new food distribution, Sanwo-Olu said, would include religious bodies, traditional worshippers, ethnic groups, political parties’ members, artisans and members of tertiary institutions within the state.
He said: “We have been able to meet the 200,00 households that we planned for in the first segment of the food stimulus package programme, and we still have a large quantity of food items in our procurement and warehouses. In this regard, we have identified various stakeholders that we will be giving these palliatives to in large quantity.
“We will now be sending these relief items to religious bodies, all tertiary institutions in Lagos, associations of all ethnic nationalities that are resident in Lagos, dwellers of riverine communities and various groups of artisans. We will also be sending food items to members of the main opposition political party and those of other political parties operating in Lagos. We will be sending food packages to women groups, youth organisations and market traders.”