Fashola At Kick Off And Loan Disbursement of IGNITE Ideas, Urges Beneficiaries To Pay Back In Order To Afford More People The Opportunity
May 15, 2015 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Friday attended the Official Kick Off and loan disbursement to the first batch of IGNITE Ideas contest participants under the auspices of the After School Graduate Development Centre, reminding beneficiaries that as pioneers they must pay back in order to allow more people benefit from the scheme.
The Governor who spoke at the TBD Event Centre, Oregun pointed out that the initiative would make no sense if the promoters could not recover what the beneficiaries took, adding that without repayment of the loans, opportunity would be given to the numerous others who were also waiting.
He told the beneficiaries, "If you let us down, you have also let your generation down so it is essentially a torch passing, a baton passing undertaking, it is like a relay; run your beat and pass on the baton. Remember that when you qualify and when you start your business some people are waiting for you to pay back so that they can get on the ladder".
Reiterating that for the few that constitute the first batch of beneficiaries, there were thousand others out there who don't have that kind of opportunity, Governor Fashola declared, "It is to those many more thousands that the State's real responsibility lies.
"So for those of you who are benefiting from this initiative, getting a business plan in, presenting your business plan, getting a loan that is interest free and collateral free, remember that you are not just beneficiaries, you are also pioneers. You would be ambassadors for this initiative", the Governor stressed.
He disclosed that the total number of applications received stands at 2,940, total number of application completed is 1,121, total number of accepted entrepreneurs in the first batch is 541, number women- owned businesses that applied is 284, total number of entrepreneurs trained is 245, total number of detailed plans submitted 174 while total number of baseline data survey is 300.
According to Governor Fashola, "The Nigerian economy has an urgent need for services because it has a young population which is one that can work, maintaining that the Nigerian population does not have any business at this time with unemployment and the consequences of poverty.
The country would continue to have this kind of interaction if something serious is not done, the Governor said adding, "This explains why the State Government and many of its agencies and Ministries are focusing on how to get young people to take interest in developing things they were not looking at".
Recalling that the State Government has intervened at the Ministry of Agriculture to create the Agric YES scheme and describing as wrong the notion that the popular notion in the past that graduates should not farm, the Governor added, "We grew up to think there was dirty money in the sense you don't get your hands dirty and once you sign a few papers you can make money. Again we found that the real money was with people who want to get their hands dirty".
"So this is the purpose of our intervention and it was a commitment that I made when Nigeria turned 50 that I said I was going to do the little I can to show that these problems can be solved and I have found a partner in Mrs Ibukun Awosika and AGCD".
Governor Fashola stated that the online module for accessing the business plans was not quite as effective as planned because many people who went to the site there didn't really know what to do, a situation which, he said necessitated a change of the format to bring people into the classrooms.
Pointing out that the State Government and AGDC was trying to avoid that situation in order to gain time and in that sense teach the beneficiaries how to develop business plans, Governor Fashola said he had often advised people to have clear cut objectives for opening their business because there are several people who ventured into a particular business because the next person is doing the same business".
The Governor reminded them that they could not do what the next person did without undergoing what that person underwent adding; "Now science has become so helpful in this sense. Whatever you want to do, data is very critical".
He said small surveys can be run on how people would react and patronize a restaurant that is opened on a university campus by sending out fliers and questionnaires which people would respond to.
The Governor expressed delight that some of the business models being proposed were on new grounds like Traffic Management and Tourism adding that as the face of the global economy and the Nigerian economy are changing, the beneficiaries must feel really proud that they know where the global economy is heading.
He recalled that in order to improve the payment schedule available in the State, he signed an Executive Order three weeks ago, allowing all government agencies to collect money by electronic mode which meant that all forms of electronic payment were now acceptable in Lagos State.
He also informed that the State has started a Citizens Relationship Management programme where members of the public can make enquiries and complaints online by logging on to services.lagosstate.gov.ng. "At the moment, it is in a pilot stage and only 11 ministries, departments and agencies are there as all the forms that one would normally fill in the offices have been converted and uploaded online", he said.
Explaining that a member of the public could fill a form and would be issued with a ticket with a number which he could use to track the progress of work being done on the enquiry, Governor Fashola maintained that the only way Nigeria could deal a deadly blow to the unemployment issue that is currently ravaging the country was for the people to embrace Made- in- Nigeria goods.
In an interactive session which was also part of the programme, the Governor stated that some of the fundamental nuggets which guided him when he set up his chambers included a clear idea of the location he and his partner wanted their law chamber to be.
On what would be the "Silicon Valley of Lagos", the Governor said an area in Alimosho named Gatankowa would become the technical village of the state where there would be production, research and development and the State providing the roads and dedicated power.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu said she was encouraged by the number of people that had applied for the programme and encouraged others to make the best of the opportunity being offered by the AGDC, Chair Centre and the Lagos State Government.
Urging those who have qualified to receive the loans to be good ambassadors, the Commissioner stressed the importance of making good use of the products in order that it could be recycled for more people to benefit.
Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of a dummy cheque with real value of N100,000.00 to the organizers by Governor Fashola as prize to be taken away by winner of the IGNITE Ideas contest.
Notable among those who attended the event were the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry, Mr Seye Oladejo, Managing Director of the Chair Centre, Mrs Ibukun Awosika and several guests.