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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sanwo-Olu flags off Lagos Market Trader Money, distributes N750m to 15,000 beneficiaries

Governor says initiative will stimulate economic activities in food markets

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In fulfilment of his promise and demonstration of love to market men and women on Valentine’s Day, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, flagged off the distribution of a N750 million financial intervention scheme tagged “Lagos Market Trader Money” for 15,000 beneficiaries on Wednesday.

The 15,000 beneficiaries, who received N50,000 each, were drawn from across all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria—South-West, South-East, South-South, North-Central, North-West, and North-East—but are all residents of Lagos.

Speaking during the launch of the Lagos Market Trader Money held at De Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the gesture will go a long way toward actualizing his goal of transforming the food systems in Lagos State and stimulating economic activities in various food markets in line with his administration’s THEMES+ developmental agenda.

It would be recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu, during the commissioning of the Mid-Level Agro-Produce Hub, Idi-Oro, Mushin, on Sunday, December 17, 2023, announced a N750 million financial intervention scheme for Lagos traders tagged “Lagos Market Trader Money” for 15,000 traders across the state.

Governor Sanwo-Olu fulfilled his promise in less than 60 days as 250 traders from each of 20 local governments and 37 Local Development Council Areas (LCDAs), as well as 750 beneficiaries identified from markets within the barracks and military formations across the state, received N50,000 each on Wednesday.

Sanwo-Olu implored the beneficiaries of the Lagos Market Trader Money to make the best and most judicious use of the grant in ways that will contribute to the economic development of the state.

“I urge you to let the citizens of Lagos feel the impact of this grant and all the other support that this administration has been providing towards ensuring food security through a reasonable reduction in the cost of basic food items in a way that it will be affordable to ordinary Lagosians,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said the initiative was conceptualized as a stop-gap measure by the Lagos State Government to empower small-scale traders in the food systems by providing them financial support to expand their businesses, thereby fostering economic growth and improving the lives of many within the state.

He said, “This will ensure sustainable livelihoods and facilitate business expansion for 15,000 traders who occupy a strategic position in the state’s economic pyramid and food distribution network.

“Lagos State, which has a growing population presently estimated at over 24 million and a food system transaction value of over N6 trillion annually, is in the process of establishing a dynamic food market system under the Food Systems Transformation Agenda to promote the preservation, storage, transportation, and presentation of wholesome food to the populace with the aim of reducing food waste, improving affordability, and guaranteeing food safety, quality, and accessibility.

“This initiative led to the implementation of key projects such as the establishment of the Lagos Central Food Security System and Logistics Hub, Ketu-Ereyun, Epe, and the Mid-Level Agro-Produce Hub, Idi-Oro, Mushin. As a mark of our resolve to follow through with the agenda, work has commenced on three additional mid-level agro-produce hubs at Sangotedo, Agege, and Abule-Ado, while the first phase of the Lagos Central Food Security System and Logistics Hub will be commissioned by December 2024.”

Speaking on how the 15,000 traders were selected for the Lagos Market Trader Money, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that “the beneficiaries were identified by the State’s Agricultural Field Officers serving each LGA/LCDA in collaboration with the Iyaloja/Babaloja General and Market Masters of each Local Government/Local Council Development Area across the State.
“The beneficiaries were selected through a methodical process targeted at 200 beneficiaries from markets in each LGA/LCDA, in addition to 50 beneficiaries that were selected by the Iyaloja/Babaloja General in each LGA/LCDA, making a total of 14,250 market traders.

“Also, 750 beneficiaries were identified from markets within the barracks and military formations across the state in collaboration with their respective Iyaloja and Babaloja. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 15,000.
“To ensure fairness in the selection process while demonstrating the spirit of Lagos as being home to all, the beneficiaries were drawn from across all the geopolitical zones of the nation, with 11,039 from the south-west, 914 from the south-east, 868 from the south-south, 1,710 from the north-central, 373 from the north-west, and 107 from the north-east.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also noted that 75 percent of the beneficiaries are women, while the remaining 25 percent are men, adding that 35 percent of the beneficiaries are below 40 years old and 65 percent are above 40 years old. He said this goes to show the social inclusiveness of implementing the initiative.

Speaking earlier, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the Lagos Market Trader Money initiative is part of the government’s efforts towards ensuring sustainable livelihoods and wealth creation for traders across the state.

She said, “This initiative is part of the state government’s commitment to the development of the downstream segment of food and agricultural value chains, which centers on markets and market access. This is due to the fact that Lagos is the largest market city-state in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The support that would be extended today is targeted at expanding the capacity of the beneficiaries to off-take more produce from our farmers, thereby catalysing increased food production in and outside the state.

“This initiative, jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Local Governments in collaboration with market leaders across all the 57 LGAs and LCDAs, is only the first of many to be launched by Mr. Governor towards helping to shoulder the burdens of the citizenry, ranging from food, health, education, and transportation.”

Also speaking, the Iyaloja-General of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for the good gestures to market men and women in Lagos State.
She enjoined traders, who are beneficiaries of the Lagos Market Trader Money, to make good use of the N50,000 given to them to augment their businesses.

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