No fewer than 135 women in Epe Constituency were recently presented with a N100,000 cheque each, under the Hon. Wale Raji Women Economic Empowerment Scheme (WESS) to enable them start their own businesses.
The loan scheme, undertaken to the tune of N20 million, was carried out in partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
In its first phase, the women went through a one-week training programme on book and record-keeping as well as managing their businesses, among others, got interest-free loans, to pay back at their own convenient time.
In his remarks, the member representing Epe Constituency in the House of Representatives, Wale Raji, said the initiative is a fulfilment of his electoral promises to the people on women empowerment, adding that in the course of his campaign his attention was drawn to the fact that they are economically disadvantaged.
“One of the reasons is lack of access to funds for their businesses. Many of them resorted to borrowing at a very high cost and I promised to put in place a loan scheme that will be interest-free and will be at convenient repayment terms. I decided to enter into collaboration with the LSETF to put together an interest-free revolving loan fund to the women.”
While advising the beneficiaries to make the best use of the funds as a way of encouraging others, Raji said though he has enjoyed the cooperation of the electorates in the constituency, addressing poverty among the people has been the major challenge.
“For the beneficiaries, the fund is for their business, they should not use it for aso-ebi. It is to liberate them economically and I think they will take to the advice and make use of the funds. We will continue to do whatever we can to alleviate poverty among the people,” he said.
The South-west Women Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Kemi Nelson, said if well utilised, the women can have a minimum turn-over of N10,000 monthly and still have enough to do business.
She also advised the women not to use the fund for aso-ebi, saying, “It is also not to be given to their husbands. They should get serious with it and become financially independent. Other politicians can also emulate Hon. Wale Raji by looking back to see how they can enhance the lives of the electorates.”
Some beneficiaries at the programme thanked the Raji for his initiative, saying it would go a long way in impacting their lives.
A beneficiary, Mrs. Taiwo Shittu thanked Raji for his initiative, saying that he has been able to impact the lives of the women in Epe community.
“The women in the community have been set up. I really thank him for what he has done for Epe division as far as women are concerned,” she said, adding that the seminar they attended was meant to help them raise capital and do other tangible things with it.
“It is going to be an addition to the market women. We all attended the training and it really helped especially the book-keeping aspect of it. It will enhance the standard of living of the women in the community so that they will not have to be sitting at home and expecting their husbands to bring anything for them,” she added.