The Lagos Government says it has begun the licensing of money lenders operating in the state because as mini-micro economic stimulants, they created jobs, generated wealth, alleviated poverty and widened the tax net.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, who said this on Tuesday at Alausa, Ikeja added that the activities of the money lenders were increasing the socio-economic status of the state through the provision of enabling environment for small scale businesses and entrepreneurship.
The Commissioner who spoke during the Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the first year in office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said 184 of such money lenders have been licensed so far.
”As at today, we have issued 184 licenses, 22 applications are in progress while one was out-rightly declined out of the total number of 207 applications received,” Elegushi said.
‘They make easy loan accessible for our citizens. They aid commerce and provide employment for the youths.
”It is cost effective for grassroots financing and the requirements are simple and straightforward. The forms are available and the processes are simple and friendly.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, the ministry automated the processing of money lending licenses, so as to ensure a hitch-free renewal and fresh applications.
He said automation of the money lending processes would help address several issues of trust that had overtime, bedeviled the practitioners.
The commissioner said that prior to the automation of the money lending processes, the ministry had held a Stakeholders’ Forum on the need to examine the laws guiding the activities of money lenders in the state.
According to him, reviewing the laws will make members of the public repose more confidence in the practitioners.
He reiterated the support of the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in creating an enabling environment for easy loan accessibility to the citizens.
Elegushi said that this was with emphasis on pragmatic strategies for achieving positive and cost effective results in grassroot financing, which would invariably help in achieving the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
He said that the money lending practitioners constituted key players in small and medium enterprises and were promoters of economic growth and prosperity of the state.
The commissioner said that he was hopeful that other practitioners in the business of money lending would key into the initiative by the government.
He called on all money lenders operating in the state to obtain valid license from the ministry for a smooth and legal operation of their businesses.
Elegushi also advised borrowers to only patronise licensed money lenders.