With the launch of a universal patronage cash reward for Lagos residents, also known as Eko Token, Lagos State on Tuesday made history as the first city in Africa to have such an initiative. Following the launch residents of the state will receive a cash reward from participating businesses across multiple industries that are expected to cover transactions like airtime, electricity bills, cable, transportation, petrol, food, insurance, entertainment, financial services and fast-moving consumer goods among others.

The state governor, BabaJide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the lunch of the scheme by the commissioner for women affairs and poverty alleviation, Bolaji Dada, said about 200 companies, including Airtel Nigeria and electricity companies have keyed into the Eko Token reward initiative.

According to the governor, the scheme has been initiated to complement other measures already put in place by his administration to ease the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on citizens and businesses in Lagos. “It is a unique partnership with the private sector that will foster a new era of a sustainable relationship between businesses, government and the people of Lagos state. It will also increase the turnover of businesses,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Lagos residents

With a massive consumer market, Nigeria’s busiest city, Lagos, which is home to most of Nigeria’s over 500 active start-ups, is expected to ride on the initiative to boost economic activities and consequently, growth.

On its own, Lagos would rank as Africa’s seventh-largest economy. Known for its traffic gridlock and entrepreneurial dynamism, Lagos alone is responsible for about 30 percent of Nigeria’s GDP. If Lagos was a country, its economy which is worth over $136 billion would not only be the seventh-largest in Africa, it would be ahead of Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya.

The potential of the Lagos State universal patronage cash reward is enormous as the initiative will see to it that for over five years, an average of 10 percent of consumer expenditure is offered back as a reward in a manner that is profitable to businesses, according to the state government. “Eko token is not a lottery but a cash reward for patronage offered by Lagos businesses to Lagos residents as a thank you for their patronages and loyalty,’ the governor said.

“When you get into any store that has signed up for the Eko Token, you will automatically get a cash reward for patronising the businesses and I believe this will improve the wallet situation of many Lagosians that is why the governor has keyed into this, especially taking into consideration the effect of the pandemic,” Yetunde Arobieke, commissioner wealth creation and employment said.

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