Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State says the state is adopting measures to absorb the shocking effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for business sustainability and growth.
Sanwo-Olu made this known in a private sector interactive webinar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday in Lagos.
He said government had set aside additional N5 billion as palliative to ensure the survival of MSMEs within the metropolis and reduce job losses.
The governor said that in the next one month, there would be an internship program for not more than 10, 000 persons, who would be equipped with additional skills to keep them employed and engaged.
He cited various steps the state had already taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.
“The state had already started by reducing its budget by over 20 per cent, and increasing its health allocation to scale up health infrastructural financing within the state.
“We are increasing the number of laboratories from five to 12 and plans to license additional laboratories and accredited primary health institutions to improve testing capacity are ongoing.
“We are also in collaboration with over 330 primary health institutions, 29 secondary health facilities and are scaling up advocacy and training to identify mild to moderate cases and tackle critical ones,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state would continue to remain accountable and transparent to the public by publishing in batches donations as recieved by the government.
He said that plans to draft single digit borrowing to the Central Bank of Nigeria and suspend all interest on borrowings from the state’s trust fund were underway.
The governor encouraged manufacturing companies to adopt longer and overnight shifts in tandem with safety measures following approval for overnight shifts.
He said the state would be completing the biggest rice mill in the country by December to tackle the fragility of the food system of the nation as experienced during the lockdown.
Sanwo-Olu said that collaboration with southwestern and some northern states was ongoing to address interstate food transportation challenges.
In her remarks, President of LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, commended the efforts and commitment of the Lagos State government in the containment and response strategies on COVID-19 pandemic.
She notified the governor of the plans of the chamber to build a convention and conference centre at the Lekki Free Zone.
“The pandemic and the various containment measures have caused severe dislocations and losses to businesses.
“ LCCI has made modest contribution to support government efforts and would continue to encourage them to do more as the pandemic is far from being over.
“It will take a while for many businesses to recover from the consequential shocks.
“We will appreciate the intervention and consideration of the state government in supporting the recovery of businesses from these disruptions and dislocations,” she said. (NAN)