The Lagos State Government has presented 1000 residents with various empowerment tools, which included grinding/milling machines, sewing/whipping machines, hairdressing appliances, sterilising sets, popcorn production machine, generators and android phones for digital marketing.
The presentation of these tools was part of streamlined activities for the Y2021 quarterly Mega Empowerment initiative organised by the Ministry of Women and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) for vulnerable women and indigent residents in the State.
In his address at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the items will help immensely in overcoming the effect of the current harsh economic realities occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors in the State.
According to the Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji, the gesture was in line with one of the administration’s objective to alleviate poverty, through the implementation of empowerment programmes targeted at women and other vulnerable groups in society.
He said, “This programme was initially held once a year, but we have increased it to four times in a year. This is because we want to increase the number of beneficiaries. With the empowerment programme, we have been able to positively impact the lives of our women, who have become economically productive with the resultant improvement in their quality of lives and that of their families”.
Sanwo-Olu urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the resources made available to them with taxpayers money, noting that the motive was to make them economically and financially independent.
“As a government, we will continue to give our support to initiatives aimed at developing the human capacity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. We shall continue to improve the capacity of our vocational skills acquisition centres to impact relevant skills on a current and emerging economic environment”.
He advised that young women should take advantage of the tuition-free vocational training programmes to learn skills that will give them opportunities of becoming entrepreneurs and employers of labour in the nearest future, irrespective of their academic qualifications.
“I assure you all that the State government will continue to give you its support through supplies of empowerment tools to boost your businesses”, he said.
Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, represented by Tutor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Education District II, Mrs. Anike Adekanye, commended the Ministry for the empowerment programme, saying it will go a long way in helping Lagosians, given the prevailing economic circumstances globally.
In her words: “The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of challenges on women, even making a good number of them breadwinners. However, this empowerment programme will certainly go a long way to help women get back on their feet”.
While noting that Governor Sanwo-Olu has a large number of women in the State’s workforce and is keen on ensuring gender equality across all platforms, she urged the beneficiaries to put the tools to good use with a view to becoming financially independent and employers of labour.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, stated that the empowerment initiative serves as a means of improving the political, social, economic and health status of Lagos residents, stressing that the programme was also essential for the achievement of a sustainable development order within the State.
She said, “Beneficiaries of today’s programme are indigents, vulnerable residents, graduates and widows, whom fate had rendered financially incapacitated across the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State. As a Ministry created to oversee women affairs, we see a mirage of problems presented by various case studies on a daily basis. Evidently, our indigent residents especially women, need so much support to carry out a multidimensional role often requiring empowerment for effective execution”.
Mrs. Dada emphasised that the Ministry, in line with its vision to sustainably reduce poverty in Lagos State, will continue to initiate, embark upon and sustain programmes as well as activities within its mandate to raise the standard of living of the indigents, vulnerable and less privileged in the State with view to becoming employers of labour.
To the beneficiaries, she said, “As you are being given the keys to open doors of entrepreneurship today, I implore you all not to sell this equipment but, rather, use them in creating wealth for yourselves and families, as channels of positive change towards economic advancement”.
One of the beneficiaries, Yemi Taiwo, expressed gratitude to the State Government for the empowerment, describing it as “a great thing” that would make life more meaningful for the beneficiaries.
“I thank the State government because with the Hair Dryer they have given me today, I will now start my hairdressing business fully. I will make money, employ more staff and be able to take good care of myself and my family”, she said.