By Rukayat Moisemhe/Oluwatope Lawanson
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reiterated his commitment to ensuring a conducive business environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the state.
Sanwo-Olu made the pledge at the closing ceremony of the 2020 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair themed: ”Connecting Businesses, Creating Value” on Sunday.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said the support was to enable the MSME sector maintain its key position of generating wealth and employment opportunities for the nation.
Sanwo-Olu said that his administration would continue to place high premium on providing infrastructure to make the state safe, secure, functional and productive as an impetus towards achieving a sustainable economic growth.
He said the patronage of the fair had further justified the idea of the annual gathering, which continued to provide a platform for businesses to network and establish connections for greater value addition.
“We will continue to support the sector to thrive, especially in the area of maximising the huge opportunities in the value chains of the various sectors of the economy.
“Our administration will continue to partner with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Organised Private Sector through promotion of fiscal and investment initiatives to ease the burden of doing business in Lagos,” he said.
Addressing businesses affected by the EndSARS protests, the governor assured of his commitment to providing measures that would facilitate recovery process.
“We share the pains of the victims and promise to do all we can, through some of the measures we have initiated including the Trust Fund that was inaugurated a couple of weeks ago.
“The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund is already reaching out to stakeholders and concerned business owners and operators of vandalized or looted property to get back on their feet through application of the Lagos Recovery Fund for Looted Businesses.
“More than 2,500 business owners and operators have applied to the fund at present,” he said.
In her remarks, Dr Lola Akande, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said the fair was a restatement of the LCCI’s mandate to drive economic growth in the MSME sector.
Akande urged MSMEs to be intentional about cultivating and maintaining connections beyond the trade fair, saying their networks is their net worth.
She assured the sector of the state’s commitment to continue to provide conducive environment for businesses, investments and investors to thrive in the state.
“The theme of this year’s Trade Fair-” has proven appropriate at this time due to the increasingly urgent need for the nation to diversify her economy through networking and value addition.
“As a responsive and responsible government, we are conscious of the gargantuan challenges faced by businesses in the nation during this period of COVID-19.
“It is important for us to continue to provide active support to entrepreneurs and business owners to mitigate such
challenges through consistent marketing support activities such as the conduct at this year’s trade fair.
“With the acute awareness that your network is your net worth, you must be intentional about cultivating and maintaining connections; so put in every effort not to let these budding connections fizzle out.
“Set up or show up at virtual hangouts and explore virtual meeting platforms with businesses within your sector,” she said.
Also, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President LCCI, urged government at all levels to continue to address the issues of enabling environment in the country, especially as regards infrastructure.
This, she said, was to fully harness the huge enterprising resource of domestic and foreign investors for the diversification of the nation’s economy and the welfare of our people.
“Let me acknowledge the remarkable cooperation and support we received from all concerned as well as the peace that prevailed since the beginning of the event, nine days ago.
“I wish to say that despite the numerous challenges of the transportation, logistics and COVID-19 pandemic, we have endeavoured to ensure a hitch-free and successful Fair.
“However, as in most human endeavours, there may have been some lapses and we regret these inadequacies,” she said. (NAN)