NIGERIA – Lagos State, Nigeria’s most populous state and home to the country’s largest city, has set up a US$2.58 million (N1 billion) seed capital to support investments in the tourism and hospitality sector within its territory.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while announcing the approval of the seed capital explained that it was mainly created to help drive new growth in the sector.

The Governor further noted that the investment was needed to support/strengthen the hospitality sector by providing key operators in the tourism business with soft loans to boost their capacity in driving growth.

Sanwo-Olu said the initiative is necessary to position the tourism business as a new frontier for job creation and economic prosperity in the post Coronavirus era.

“We are making this investment because of the huge potential for job creation and inclusive growth this sector can bring about,’ Sanwo- Olu said.

According to the Lagos State Governor, the seed capital will be domiciled in the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

The Governor further revealed that the funds will be made available specifically to Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) operators in the sector

Lagos State Government would be collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to further create access to funds to support the hospitality business, the Governor confided.

The seed capital approval comes at a time when the state has just concluded arrangements to provide technological infrastructure to support MSMEs by commencing installation of the first phase of the 6,000km optical fibre across the state.

The Lagos State Governor further pointed out that the state has continued to improve on its ease of doing business policies to drive private investment and economic growth.

This he said has been made possible by the digitization of business registration and asset acquisition processes, which has removed administrative bottlenecks.

“We will be working with the CBN for more funding to fully develop the potential of our tourism sector,” the Governor added.

The Tourism and Hospitality sector has been one of the industries that have been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic rages on, causing restrictions on travel and association, the World Trade organization estimates that the crisis could lead to a loss of US$80 billion in receipts and a further loss of up to 120 million jobs in the worst scenario.

The seed capital for the Tourism and Hospitality industry will thus go a long way in helping the State’s tourism resume operations.

Tourism being a major industry in Lagos state, the policy will thus help strengthen Lagos’ economy which at a GDP valued at $130 billion is considered the 4th wealthiest in Africa.

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