Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday stated that the present administration, through the State Employment Trust Fund, has in the last one year approved and disbursed N4.5Billion to 5,527 Medium Small Manufacturing Enterprises (MSMEs).

The Governor disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Edition of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Exclusive fair, themed “Unleashing the Potentials of MSMEs for Economic Diversification” held in Lagos.

Speaking through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, he said that the Fund in partnership with the UNDP and Private sector employers will also train 16,000 unemployed Lagosians in order to take up technical and vocational jobs, adding: “The State Government would launch innovation driven enterprise framework to support business startups in the Fourth Quarter of this year”.

He reiterated the commitment of the present administration to continually implement enterprise-friendly policies and develop the critical infrastructure that would enhance the productivity and competitiveness of all businesses in the State.

“We will continue to support the growth of MSMEs and make concerted efforts to develop enterprise cluster parks especially the Imota Light Industrial Park”, he said.

The Governor informed that the theme of this year: “Unleashing the Potentials of MSMEs for Economic Diversification throws a challenge to all players, both public and private, to look inwards and develop the internal and external capacities of the local non-oil MSME for steady growth and global competitiveness.

He stated that the 4-Day fair would match-up the local small-scale industrial giants with business development support providers, investors from the private sector, public regulatory support agencies at the State and Federal government levels as well as foreign economic development institutions.

He declared that despite the contributions of the MSME sector to the Lagos economy, the sector’s competitiveness is weakened by limited access to credible, customized-business support and inability to penetrate local and expanded markets, emphasizing that there is a need to build strong public-private support systems that would enhance the capacity of the MSME sector for economic diversification.

In his words: “I also charge you to take advantage of the structures our administration has put in place to support your businesses and together, let us build world class businesses which would positively impact on Lagos, Nigeria and the World.

Ambode urged all exhibitors to take full advantage of the platform of the fair and e-commerce to launch their products to a global but competitive market.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Prince Rotimi Oguleye said Lagos State is the largest hub of MSMEs and the economic nerve-centre of Nigeria, accounting for more than 3 million micro and 11,663 small and medium enterprises that are significantly boosting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), generating employment, creating sustainable enterprises, and accelerating value-added industrialization.

Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Oladele Adekanye expressed appreciation to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led-administration for introducing the numerous innovative interventions aimed at enhancing the capacity of the small-business sector so that its members could actively contribute to national development and economic recovery.

The event also attracted the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Chief (Mrs) Nike Akande, the representative of the National President of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson and members of the Organised Private Sector.