The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), through the Livelihood Delivery Platform (DLi 1:3) under the Nigerian COVID-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme, has embarked on soft skills training of 400 vulnerable and indigent beneficiaries as part of efforts to augment the economic downturn induced by the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in Lagos.

The programme is aimed at ensuring that 3,000 beneficiaries under the livelihood support domiciled with the Ministry are empowered through the collaboration with Federal Government and World Bank in order to become high economic contributors to the growth of the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State.

Speaking at one of the training programmes, held simultaneously in three centres, namely Ijanikin-Oto Awori LCDA; Coker Aguda LCDA and Somolu LGA, Head of Livelihood Delivery Platform 1.3, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Salami stated that the initiative was designed supporting indigents who were economically deprived during the COVID -19 lockdown and are still very much unable to meet up with financial sustainability, due to the economic downturn.

She said, “Many businesses were grossly affected by the lockdown, so much so that they are yet to balance up. This has greatly affected their commitment towards economic growth. Hence, the need to have financial literacy and empowerment programmes like this. Recipients of the NG-CARES programme were mined from the Social Register of Lagos State domiciled in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget”.

Mrs. Salami, who was represented at the programme held in Oto-Awori LCDA by the Procurement Director of the Initiative, Mr. Taofeek Disu, reiterated that the engagement was geared towards supporting businesses and enterprises by equipping participants with the required entrepreneurial knowledge and grant.

Highlighting the importance of adopting such a laudable strategy, Salami implored participants to utilise the grants given for financial growth in their various businesses, warning them against any attempt to divert the funds to other frivolous usages except what it was meant for.

Also speaking, a Business Consultant/Facilitator at the programme, Mrs. Folasade Sonaike stated that it was imperative to have a business strategy using research and marketing plans for enhanced financial growth.

She gave insight into modes of financial literacy to enable participants to groom their businesses/vocations effectively, especially with the advent of social media tools’ handling.

The highlight of the programme was the Certificates of Participation awarded to the beneficiaries and monetary financial support to aid their affected businesses.