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Ambode Budgets N662.588bn For 2016, Plans Brighter Future For Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode today presented a budget of N662.588 billion for the 2016 fiscal year to the Lagos State House of Assembly for approval.

The budget is N172.898 billion higher than the 2015 budget of N489.69 billion by the previous administration led by former Governor Babatunde Fashola.

The budget represents an improvement of 26 per cent over the budgets of 2014 and 2015 respectively which stood at N489.6 Billion individually.

In the budget tagged: “The Peoples Budget,” the Recurrent Expenditure is put at N278,909 billion while the Capital Expenditure is put at N383,678 billion. This is in the ratio of Capital to Recurrent 58:42 as against 51:49 in 2014 and 2015.

The total Personnel Cost/Total Revenue is 23 per cent while the total Personnel Cost/IGR is 31 per cent and Personnel Cost as percentage of Recurrent Expenditure, 46 per cent.

Presenting the budget to the State House of Assembly for approval, Ambode said the budget would promote massive investment in security, transport/traffic management, physical and social infrastructural development and enhance job creation.

“We plan to use the 2016 budget to strategically build new infrastructures, while we continue to maintain existing ones. Wealth and employment creation will receive a lot of attention as we commence the implementation of the Employment Trust Scheme which will set aside N25billion over a four year period for job creation.

The governor said the increase in the budget would enable the government to focus on the present challenges of security, traffic gridlock resolution including physical and social infrastructural development which has thrown up new challenges quite different from what we used to experience and have always known.

He said the total revenue estimate for 2016 fiscal year is N542.873 billion which shows that the balance of N119.714 billion will be funded through deficit financing that would be 0.41 per cent of the state Gross Domestic Produc,GDP based on 2016 budget alone and a cumulative debt to GDP ratio of about 3 per cent, saying that the expansionary vision of the previous and current budgets, Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF) and Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025, required sustainable budget deficit financing and good debt management to aid implementation.

“Notwithstanding, we have resolved to improve on our revenue to GDP ratio which is about 2 per cent presently by broadening the revenue base of the State and bring more citizens into the tax net through automation of tax assessment, collection and administration. In future, an improved revenue base will ensure reduction in our deficit financing,” he said.

The breakdown of the budget showed that General Public Service received N120.5 billion; Public Order and Safety, N28.559 billion; Economic Affairs, N211.043 billion and Environment, N53.043 billion.

Others are Housing and Community Amenities, N62.7 billion; Health, N64.677 billion,; Recreation, Culture and Religion, N4.63 billion; Education, N113.379 billion and Social Protection, N4.025 billion.

According to Ambode, “We have maintained a conservative approach in estimating our Federal Allocation. This is principally due to falling oil prices that was about $38 per barrel at the time we finalized our budget. Fiscal Federalism and according Lagos a Special Status will benefit the State as we implore the Federal Government to look into this as soon as possible. As you are aware, the Federal Government still owes Lagos State over N50 billion expended on federal roads in Lagos state. We look forward to an early refund to enable us utilize the fund on other infrastructure that require attention.”

On security, the governor said a major challenge that confronted the state now is making sure that the State is safe and secure for all citizens, saying that government within the first few months resolved to adopt a multifaceted approach at tackling this challenge, adding that government would continue to support the security agencies in 2016.

On roads, Ambode said one of the assignments that his administration had embarked upon is to regularly inspect the state of the roads to ascertain their conditions and ensure that they are motorable.

“The Ten-Lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway is on course. We have awarded the contracts for fly-overs at Abule-Egba and Ajah to resolve the perennial traffic grid-lock along those corridors and they are expected to be completed in 16 months. We will also be working at Pen Cinema, Agegeto efficiently resolve incessant traffic bottle neck caused around that axis. In addition we will be expanding the BRT Corridor at Mile 12-Ojota, while we will commence construction of new roads across the length and breadth of our state. We will place the completion on-going road construction projects and pedestrian bridges on our priority list in Year 2016,” he said.

On Education, the governor said in the fulfillment of the All Pogressives Congress, APC manifesto, “A-Meal- a-Day Programme in our Public Primary Schools will commence in Year 2016. This will be done in collaboration with the Federal Government who will provide 60 per cent of the funding, while the State Government will match it with 40 per cent.

“This programme promises not only to improve the daily nutrition of our children, it will also create an economy of its own, with opportunities for job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, and so on. The State Government’s intervention in Education will continue in the areas of maintenance of public school buildings/facilities, provision of basic instructional materials/ free textbooks for schools and mandatory capacity building programmes for teachers in public schools. We intend to launch an advocacy programme–“Kick Illiteracy out of Lagos,” starting from Year 2016.”

In his speech after the budget presentation by the governor, Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa noted that Lagos has continued to be seen both within and outside the country as the very place where good governance is the norm and that this readily explains why the state is home to all Nigerians, having attained the enviable status of a mega city.

He also referred to the confirmation of the Civil Resource Development Documentation Centre, CIRDDOC, an independent, non-governmental organisation, which recently declared Lagos State as the third most transparent state in Nigeria in the area of budget performance and transparency.

“Here in Lagos State, the three tiers of government: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have always been striving to put our people first in all that we do.

“Despite their distinct status, these government institutions have continued to regularly collaborate to deliver the dividend of democracy and the very best for our dear state and the people.

“It is however pertinent to note that the very cordial relationship existing between this legislative House and the executive has not stopped us from performing our constitutionally assigned roles of exercising control over the state’s purse.

“This has obviously resulted in the First Class position that our dear state has attained in our country today, which makes Lagos the symbol of good governance.

“You will all agree with me that the responsiveness and readiness of this honourable House to pass pro-people and pro-development legislations is rightly on the course in giving Mr. Governor the much needed enabling environment to perform creditably well to the admiration of our people.

“This indeed is the confirmation that ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’, which in this case can be rewritten as: ‘behind every performing Governor there is a pro-active, pro-people and pro-development House of Assembly’.

While commending the governor for procuring security equipment to combat insecurity in the state, Obasa promised that the budget proposal would be meticulously looked into by the House.

“In treating this budget, we will not forget that we are trustees for the people. A lot has indeed been done in the area of job creation and economic empowerment of Lagosians. But there is a dire need to create more opportunities for our people; more jobs will definitely lead to greater economic growth.

“We need not be reminded that easy movement of people and goods is essential and important to the economy of a state. Therefore, we must continue to forge ahead,” the Speaker said urging the governor to continue to help the people of the state resolve gridlocks on the roads.

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