The Lagos State Government has disbursed over N1 billion to Small & Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund as part of efforts aimed at recovery and reconstruction of the state’s economy, post COVID-19.
The state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Chairman of the Conference, who released the figure at the 5th Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), held at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, Thursday, with the theme “Post COVID-19 Pandemic: Recovery and Reconstruction in Nigeria,” stressed that as a result of the intervention businesses were already gradually coming back to life in the state.
The Governor, who was represented at the event by Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, the State’s Commissioner for Information & Strategy, however, conceded that full recovery would be difficult to predict given the still dangerous mode of transmission of the virus.
He informed the audience that the state, also as part of efforts aimed at post-COVID-19 recovery and reconstruction, is set to establish a world-class and best-in-Africa vaccine research centre to avoid depending on western nations for COVID-19 vaccines.
According to him, Lagos State would also set up a mental health facility as part of critical measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
He said that when COVID-19 broke out, “the Lagos State Government set up the Lagos Incident Command to collate vital information and data on the pandemic and thereafter kept Lagosians informed on regular basis. Today, we have 150 vaccination centres from the initial 65 as well as stepped up advocacy on the need for Lagosians to go for vaccination.”
He lamented that Africa has been unable to achieve herd immunity, which translates to 60 percent vaccination of the population partly due to fake news and conspiracy theories about the pandemic, especially on the African continent.
“We have the problem of fake news of the vaccine killing people and therefore not the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we appreciate the support of the media in terms of information dissemination about the pandemic. We also need such critical support to combat the fake news about the virus, vaccination and recovery from the pandemic.”
Omotosho congratulated the new executive of GOCOP, led by Maureen Chigbo who were sworn in during the program as well as the new members of the Guild who were inducted at the Conference and pledged the support of the State Government going forward.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha had earlier delivered the Keynote Address in which he outlined measures being taken by the Federal Government to facilitate post COVID-19 recovery and reconstruction.
Corporate Affairs Managers of leading organisations in the country, including the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), NEXIM Bank, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), United Nations Information Center (UNIC) also attended the Conference and sent in goodwill messages.