By NBF News
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THE Lagos State Microfinance Institution (LASMI), in partnership with the Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED), has established a micro-credit fund that would be accessible to members of LASCOFED with the aim of alleviating poverty.

Speaking at a one-day sensitization workshop on Ways of Accessing Lagos State Micro-Credit by Cooperatives organized by LASMI and LASCOFED, the Executive Chairman of LASMI, Bashorun Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy, said the fund was set up to ensure that artisans and non-salaried people have access to funds at a single digit interest rate.

'Lagos State government, through LASMI, is trying to alleviate poverty by equipping artisans financially to enable them grow their businesses and provide employment to others.

'Previous efforts by government to give loans to artisans failed because we found out that the fund didn't get to those it was intended for. This necessitated the establishment of this micro-credit fund that would be accessible to members of LASCOFED through our partnering microfinance banks.'

Macfoy explained that government decided to disburse the fund through cooperative societies because the peer pressure of members would ensure that default rates are minimized.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, said access to the fund by artisans, especially farmers, would build the needed capacity of community based societies to ensure food security.

Represented by Director of Cooperatives, Mrs. Ayo Awokulehin, the Commissioner blamed the drop in food production to lack of access to fund by farmers.

'Access to agricultural credit by farmers at the right time will develop the sector and increase food production. This fund is coming at a time that it is most needed as most banks are not willing to commit funds to the agric sector.

'With over 18 million people in Lagos State, we need improved technology to ensure food security and also attract young farmers'