Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday flagged off the N400 million Dangote Trust Fund Micro Grant scheme for 40,000 women across the state.
Ambode, during the ceremony at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the scheme was designed to enhance the income generating capacity of beneficiaries through seed grants of N 10,000 and other accessories.
The programme will reach beneficiaries across the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State.
He said: “We shall ensure that the micro-grant is administered to benefit the targeted disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community, especially the widows and other special interest persons.
“The real essence of wealth is to improve the standard of living of people around us.
“True wealth is measured not by the property one acquires, but by the ability to positively affect the society and lift up less privileged people.”
The governor appealed to the first set of beneficiaries not to abuse the opportunity afforded them by the scheme.
“The seed grants you will receive have been provided to enable you engage in petty commercial activities and cottage business that will put food on the table for your family and not a largesse that should be spent frivolously,” Ambode said.
The governor urged members of the Micro Grants beneficiary selection committee to ensure transparency in the nomination process from the ward level.
“Nobody must be denied access to this facility on the basis of gender, political, ethnic or religious affiliation,” he said.
Ambode commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the gesture and urged other well meaning, public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations to emulate his kind gesture.
Earlier, Dangote said the programme was targeted at a minimum of 1,000 vulnerable women in each of the 774 Local Government Areas across the country.
He said that it provided the women the opportunity to reduce their vulnerability and meet their livelihood needs.
Dangote said that due to the special status of Lagos State, the number of beneficiaries per local government was doubled to enable the programme reach out to a larger population of women.
He said that the programme was implemented in partnership with the State Government to make it inclusive.
According to him, beneficiaries will be given mobile phones in addition to the N10,000.
Dangote said that payments would be made electronically via mobile money platform and beneficiaries could redeem their cash immediately.