The Lagos State Government has expressed its readiness to introduce innovative financing strategies to attract emerging classes of funders in support of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the State.
Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade & Investment, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem revealed this at the 4th Business Roundtable and Exhibition organised by Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Lagos State Branch on Tuesday at Ikeja with the theme: “MSMEs: Catalyst for Nigeria Economic Rejuvenation and Growth”.
Speaking at the event, Ambrose-Medebem stated that financing options such as gender bonds to support gender programming and green bonds to finance climate-resilient infrastructure will help fund critical initiatives and align with global sustainability goals.
She said, “As a State that thrives on innovation, trade and economic dynamism, it is our collective duty to ensure that Lagos continues to flourish, guided by a vision that resonates with every Lagosian.
“In this current dispensation, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu shall develop an Export Promotion Policy to provide support to companies exporting their products and services, which will boost our economy, create jobs and position the State as a hub for international trade”.
While enumerating the State’s intervention for MSMEs to include the disbursement of over N8.4 billion to 12,710 MSMEs through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSTEF), which helped them navigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, Ambrose-Medebem averred that the administration will incentivise the adoption of cleaner energy production and utilisation, contributing to environmental preservation and economic growth.
According to her, all the goals will be pursued in addition to promoting an inclusive economy in line with the THEMES Plus Agenda while deepening the value chain through collaboration with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Business Membership Organisations (MBOs).
Chairman of the occasion, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, applauded the Commissioner for turning up at the event, which was her first official assignment while appreciating the Ministry for its constant support to NASME.
She described NASME as one of the backbones of the Nigerian economy, contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), creating employment and reducing poverty, noting that the event was timely and the topic relevant as it will help provide opportunities for MSMEs to expand their businesses in the State”, she said.
In his keynote address, Dr. Muda Yusuf stressed that innovative finance is key in the face of multifaceted challenges confronting MSMEs while acknowledging the robust support that NASME has enjoyed from the government in terms of new initiatives and funding.
He advised policymakers on the need to continuously engage industry players to know areas in which they require intervention while noting that such can also be used as feedback. He also emphasised the need for deliberate protection of the informal economy to ensure inclusion.
The Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of NASME, Prof. Olatunji Olu Adams commended the partnership existing between the Association and Lagos State, expressing the desire to strengthen the relationship for the benefit of both parties.
Ambrose-Medebem, who was honoured with the “Strategic Partner Award”, also toured the exhibition stands at the event.