Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State says the state has released N16.9 billion pension arrears from April 2016 to March this year.
Ambode said this on Thursday while inaugurating the headquarters of Providus Bank in Lagos.
He also said that N2 billion had also been disbursed to young entrepreneurs and artisans under the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) scheme.
He said his administration had maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructure development and engaging competent local contractors to employ the people.
Ambode expressed delight at the consistent investment of the state government in critical sectors that contributed to the resurgence of the economy.
He said as a government, his administration was relentless in its commitment to providing a conducive, safe and secure enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
The governor also said that efforts were being made daily to improve the ease of doing business in the state, especially by working to ensure that all businesses succeeded, even in a recession.
“We have maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructural development and engaging competent local contractors who in turn employ our people.
“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed almost N2 billion in the last quarter to young entrepreneurs and artisans.
“We have released N16.9 billion for payment of arrears to pensioners in the state between April 2016 and March 2017.
“Our Light Up Lagos initiative has given traders and artisans extended time to carry out their businesses as we move towards our 24/7 economy.
“With these actions, we energized the economy and ensured that commercial activities continued in the state,” Ambode said.
Ambode called for a convergence of the foreign exchange rates.
He said that there should be deliberate strategies to force down inflation to single digit and reduce lending rates to enable more businesses to access funds and meet their obligations.
The governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently released by the Federal Government.
He said the economic blueprint would go a long way in charting the course of economic recovery and growth desired by all.
Ambode also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for efforts at stabilising the exchange rates and expressed optimism that the steps being adopted would help ailing businesses to bounce back to profitability.
He equally commended the management of Providus Bank for its commitment to positively impact on the banking sector.
Ambode urged the bank to come up with programmes that would bring more financial inclusion to Lagos.
“I urge you, as financial intermediaries, to facilitate the growth of the economy by designing products for the real sector, thereby supporting made-in-Nigeria goods.
“ I also urge you to pay special attention to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises because these are the fastest vehicles for job creation and growing new businesses,” Ambode said.
Mr Walter Akpani, the Managing Director of the bank, commended the governor for the massive infrastructure development in the state and efforts at enhancing ease of doing business.
Akpani said that the bank’ s focus was to be a niche player by distinguishing itself in terms of service, cost saving, speed, transparency as well as innovations and excellence.
“Our aim is to be number one in service delivery, supporting the growth of Nigerian economy through best practices,” he said. (NAN)