28th July, 2011
The Lagos State Government said on Wednesday that it would continue to use micro-credit schemes to fight poverty in the state.
The Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, expressed the governmentâ€™s commitment at a workshop in Ikeja on how farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs could access loans.
The workshop was jointly organised by the State Microfinance Institution and the State Cooperative Federation Ltd.
Orelope-Adefulire urged participants to invest the loans they secured in farming and other profitable ventures and not for personal comfort.
She described microcredit schemes as effective tools for job creation.
â€œThe government intends to continue to encourage self-employment because of the realisation that it will help to create more job opportunities and break the chains of poverty.
â€œThe Asian Tigers have used micro-finance schemes to stimulate and enhance the growth of small and medium scale businesses,â€ Orelope-Adefulire said.
The deputy governor said the government had simplified the process of accessing the loans to enable those without collateral to benefit.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, said making agricultural credit available to farmers at the right time and under the right conditions would not only help to develop the sector, but would also boost food production.
Lawal, represented by Mrs. Ayo Awokulehin, Director of Cooperative Services in the ministry, noted that several banks operating in the country were unwilling to finance agriculture.
He also said the loans had become unattractive because of the high interest rates.
He disclosed that the Stateâ€™s Animal Traction and Hand Tools Technology Programme had so far assisted 237 farmers with N26.7 million.
The Chairman, State Microfinance Institution, Mr. Bashorun Alabi-Macfoy, lauded the state administration for the micro-credit schemes.