Amujae Leader Tejumola Abisoye advocated for greater efforts to support Lagos’s micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs)—especially those run by women—as they recover from the serious economic impacts of the last year.
Many businesses in Lagos, and MSMEs in particular, were already suffering due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting the movement of people and goods when they were hit by vandalism and looting in October 2020. In response, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), along with private and public sector partners, set up the Lagos MSME Recovery Fund to support entrepreneurs whose businesses were affected.
At a virtual launch event for LSETF’s MSME Recovery Fund Report, Ms. Abisoye, who is the CEO and Executive Secretary of LSETF, joined a panel to explore the key lessons learned through the disbursement of funds to over 1,000 businesses in need across Lagos.
Speaking about the report’s findings, Ms. Abisoye highlighted that 64% of businesses affected were women-led. To address this and to avoid perpetuating similar inequities in the future, Ms. Abisoye said:
“ recognize the vulnerability of women-led businesses, and… there must be more targeted financial support, capacity development, and awareness on how to create and protect their business from this type of issue going forward.”
Of the businesses included in the report, only about 3% had business interruption insurance, 80% were not operating with proper records, and 85% were not affiliated with recognized associations or professional bodies. Ms. Abisoye encouraged MSME owners to formalize their business operations by introducing these best practices and ways of working.
In conclusion, Ms. Abisoye said that government prioritization of open communication, accountability, and collaborative partnerships would be essential for allowing more MSMEs to build back better.
“Transparency does help in making sure that the public trusts government intervention. And of course, partnerships and collaboration private sector … in this space, because helps to improve accountability.”