The Lagos State Government on Tuesday January 9th, 2024 empowered over 1,000 vulnerable and indigent residents through the Year 2024 State’s Micro Enterprise Support Initiative (MESI) Programme.
Speaking at the programme held at the Blue Roof, LTV, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu said the MESI initiative is a practical demonstration of his administration’s social inclusion policy geared towards ensuring that no one is left behind in the collective journey to the Greater Lagos dream. It is also aimed at addressing the plight of the less privileged who are facing significant challenges in the state.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, said that across the globe, governments, private sectors and civil societies are exploring better ways to achieve poverty reduction and accelerate women’s empowerment through indigenous economic development strategies.
He added that as the fifth largest economy in Africa, it is compelling for his administration to harness the potential of the state’s diverse population to drive accelerated, sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the State.
The Governor emphasised that empowering indigent and vulnerable residents in Lagos State requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses immediate needs and focuses on long-term solutions. He said the state government is earnestly developing Social Safety Nets through various programmes, offering direct assistance such as cash transfers, food vouchers, healthcare subsidies and access to quality education, alleviating immediate hardships and improving citizens’ overall well-being.
Sanwo-Olu further expressed his administration’s commitment to improved Skills Development and Education, enhancing skilled Acquisition Training and Adult Education to empower residents with qualitative and valuable skills.
While noting that the state government aims to increase employability and open up opportunities for income generation through collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the Governor said that building a successful nation is not solely the duty of an individual but a collective task, saying, “We must work hand in hand to ensure the sustainable growth of these micro-enterprises and provide support to those who need it the most”.
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the empowerment tools and not to sell them as the government has invested significantly in getting the tools.
“You are expected to make judicious use of these resources. They are not gifts to be kept away but put to use as tools to facilitate your journey to becoming economically and financially independent as well as employers of labour”, he said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada stated that the Lagos State Micro-Enterprise Support Initiative marks an important milestone in the government’s efforts to alleviate poverty and empower the most vulnerable members of society.
Dada explained that the scheme is a State Government intervention and transformational programme through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation adopted to equip Lagos citizens with adequate tools for financial sustainability.
She, however, said that the different empowerment initiatives embarked on by the state government are aimed at ensuring that Lagosians are trained and empowered for financial sustainability, to enable them to support their families and contribute to the socio-economic development of the State. She stressed that “here, the Lagos State Government has Zero tolerance to idleness of any form”.
While charging the graduates with the need to take ownership and care for their startup equipment, she made it known that the monitoring teams would pay them unscheduled visits to ensure that progress was recorded and evaluated.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of empowerment tools which include Milling machines, Sewing machines, Professional Hair-dryers, Barbing Clippers with Sterilizing Units and Generators, Pop-Corn Machines, Sharwama Grillers and Toasting Machines, Snail Pens, Industrial cookers, Tile Laying Machines, as well as Gari processing equipment to the beneficiaries.