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Lagos disburses N2.5bn recovery fund for looted businesses.

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has announced plans to disburse about N2.5 billion economy recovery fund to assist entrepreneurs whose businesses were torched during last week’s civil unrest across the state.

This was even as the agency said it has received about 2,500 applications from various business owners in the state.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LSETF, Mrs. Tejumola Abisoye, stated this yesterday during a live interview on Channels TV Sunrise

She explained that to help reduce the impact of the wanton destruction of Medium Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) businesses in the wake of the #ENDSARS protests across the state, the management of LSETF decided to float the fund to cushion the effect and reflate them back to live.

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The LSEFT boss said any business can apply for claims as long as there are evidences to prove that such a business has been impacted or looted as a result of the civil unrest.

She added that to ascertain the claim of a business owner in order for them to receive funding support, LSEFT would be sending down its verification partners who will be on ground to ascertain and verify each claim a business is making.

She said the MSMEs recovery fund is being managed by a steering committee because it is not only the Lagos State Government that has made funds available for this business intervention but also included the private sector.

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Abisoye noted that the steering committee will determine each claim based on the verification and evaluation report provided by the business development support partners.

On the challenges of improper documentation access to funding by SMEs, she said the structure for verification will include a neighbor who knows the business and its promoter within the local government and can ascertain the existence of the business, including the membership of a business association.

‘‘A business cannot operate in isolation. There will be people in the market that can ascertain and verify the existence of the business pre vandalisation or looting as a growing concern. But should we not be able to ascertain that, then that will impact on the amount of money such a business will be able to get.

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The LSETF CEO said the unfortunate development has presented an opportunity for SMEs that are not structured or registered to do so now through the help of LSETF to help formalize their businesses and improve their results.

Abisoye disclosed that businesses impacted by looting have until the October 31, 2020 to apply for the economic recovery fund, saying the agency intends to commence disbursement of funds within the next 12 days.

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