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LSETF plans to double existing N25bn fund to boost SMEs

Details have emerged that the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) is set to raise additional N25 billion from international donor agencies to boost its program of micro, small and medium, MSME, funding. On delivery, the total capital base will rise to N50bn.

Explaining more on it works, Executive Secretary of LSETF, Akin Oyebode said the Fund is designed to focus on promoting entrepreneurship.

This is driven by way of improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of MSMEs and formulating policies designed to improve the business environment in Lagos State. “We have a set target of providing financial support to over 100,000 MSMEs within the next 3 years; support the creation of 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs; and add over 200,000 new taxpayers to the tax register.

Continuing, he added that “The businesses we support must demonstrate capacity to repay our loans; be owned by Lagos residents duly registered by the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA); show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS); and have valid Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). In addition to our MSME financing schemes, we will also train unemployed residents to either take up identified jobs or run their businesses.”

Oyebode noted that applicants can access maximum loan of N500,000.00 at an interest rate of 5 percent per annum, to be spread over 12 months. Under this category, the applicant’s business must be the main source of livelihood and he/she must also demonstrate existence of a verifiable and economically stable market for goods and services. The business must have a minimum turnover of N20,000 monthly. In cases where applicant is unbanked, turnover can be estimated using price of applicant’s service and walk in or buying rate. The business should have been operational for at least one year otherwise the applicant should have a certification in a trade and reference from the certifying body.

For the SMEs, he said maximum loan obtainable is N5,000,000 in the case of an SME, and must be for asset acquisition and/or working capital for the business at an interest rate of 5 percent per annum payable over 36 months.

Whereas the business must be located in Lagos; registered with the CAC; it must be registered with the LIRS and must be in existence for more than 12 months.

On how to apply, Oyebode disclosed that interested applicants that have made all the terms and conditions can download and complete the forms and submit to LSETF Office. For an application to be valid, the submitted form must include a copy of the LASRRA Card and Tax Identification Number. The first phase closed on Friday, February 3, 2017. The second phase is expected to take off soon according to the Executive Secretary.