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By Dedeigbo Ayodeji
The Lagos State Government has increased the number of existing vocational centres controlled by the State Agency for Mass Education from seven to nine, in order to reduce distance youths covered before having access to the facilities across the state.
It said that the two additional facilities sited in Badagry and Epe Local Governments have been constructed and would become operational simultaneously from August, 2021 to give youths in communities across the axis the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
The Director, Lagos State Agency for Mass Education, Oluwakemi Kalesanwo, disclosed this on Tuesday at the flag-off of sensitization programme organised by the agency for the over 700 newly certified entrepreneurs by the state government.
Kalesanwo said that the new facilities were put up by the government to increase number of annual trainees particularly those within the locations where the facilities were currently been sited and improve compliance with the COVID-19 protocol of the state government.
She added that with both facilities, over 1,000 youths would be empowered with the right skills and become entrepreneurs as well as employers of labours across the state.
On the sensitization, the Director explained that the programme was organised to expose the vocational trainees to the various opportunities available to assist and put Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the track towards becoming a multi-million naira firm.
According to her, they have been exposed by their facilitators but this forum was to bring them in contact with the officials responsible for the disbursement of the funds and other benefits available for them in the society.
Aside from exposing them to sources of fundings, the Agency for Mass Education boss hinted that they were also trained on how to become financial literate, saying this will help them to become cautious and not extravagant with their profits.
Earlier, an assistant director in the agency, Kikelomo Olawunmi, told the trainees that investigations conducted over the years showed that many entrepreneurs were not financially literate and that it affects their ability to expand their businesses after many years in business.
Olawunmi further said that appropriate book-keeping and accountability have been discovered as other solutions that could assist entrepreneurs to keep their businesses afloat.
On the mode of loan disbursement, the Liason officer for Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Ikorodu branch, Jubril Matti, explained that the fund was created for entrepreneurs to kick-start and expand businesses with ease across the state
Matti disclosed that each of the trainees has the opportunity to get at least between N50, 000 and N250, 000 loans and that they have a 15 months window to pay back the loan obtained from the agency.
He said that some of the items each loan applicant must present include the certificate obtained from their training institute, Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) and others.