As part of its efforts to reduce the financial burden on 11,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and technology start-ups in the state, which accessed its loans, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has placed a moratorium on repayment of the loans by the beneficiary enterprises.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Fund, Teju Abisoye, who disclosed this in Lagos, described the moratorium as part of the relief measures by the state government to assist SMEs amidst the shutdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the LSETF boss noted that the pandemic had adversely affected trade and other business activities globally; resulting in SMEs and larger corporations seeking suspension of their loans repayment. Abisoye explained that the gesture will help keep the struggling SMEs in business and serve as a spark of optimism in anticipation of a quick return to normalcy and business continuity.
She explained: “Some SMEs had obtained loans from LSETF for their business growth, prior to the coronavirus outbreak. However, trade has been stagnant, so the moratorium is part of the relief measure by the state government to assist SMEs amidst the shutdown. We are passionate and committed to enabling every productive resident in Lagos to dream, grow and succeed in their endeavours.
“We are keen to helping them get access to affordable financial and other institutional support needed to create wealth and employment for our youth, while significantly contributing to building a 21st century economy for Lagos in alignment with the state Ggovernment’s THEMES agenda.
“We understand that to do this, we must engender an enabling environment for small businesses to operate and thrive. In recognition of the difficulty that businesses may encounter this period, we understand that many of them will not be able to meet their loan repayment obligations,” she said.
The LSETF has also suspended the ‘Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers Programme’, which was designed to support and facilitate access to well-equipped workspaces and learning for potential innovators and founders of start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem. The programme was suspended for a month due to the lockdown by the government.