From Hakeem Bello, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Sunday signed into law the 2015 Appropriation Bill with a pledge that his administration would continue to render service to Lagosians until the end of his tenure.
The 2015 Appropriation Bill, with the size of N489.69 billion, was presented to the State House of Assembly on Monday, November 24, 2014 with Capital to Recurrent ratio put at 51:49 for Y2015, which is the same as Y2014 Budget.
In his remarks before signing the Budget at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Fashola said as an article of faith, the way any government treats its budget defines how determined, how focused and how serious that government is in terms of service delivery to its citizens.
The Governor, who noted that there were talks in some circles that budgets would be delayed as a result of the fact that elections are in the air, declared, “I don’t think that there is any legitimate excuse for it for a government that has been able to plan and implement its plan”.
“Half of the planning requires that any serious government should send its budget in advance of the end of the year”, the Governor said expressing joy that after Ogun State, “which is happily an APC State”, Lagos, another APC State, is the next State signing its Budget into law.
On why the event was held on a Sunday, Governor Fashola explained that the APC had called for a National Meeting in Abuja on Monday, January 12, adding that “the flexibility and adaptability” of his administration has made it easy to call the event forward instead of pushing it backwards.
“That is why I have called you here so that we can sign the budget, so that while I am in Abuja, Ministries and Departments can get on with the work”, the Governor said adding that service delivery must go on continually.
He told newsmen in an interview shortly after the event that although there were financing challenges when he presented the budget in 2014, but because the State’s revenue has been based largely on the common contributions of Lagosians, the economy had continued to remain sustainable.
“That has been how we build our commonwealth here. We continue to be innovative, inventive and hardworking. That is what we have given in the last almost eight years and we won’t give anything less” he said, adding that as difficult and challenging as the revenue issues may be, with the support of Lagosians and their ownership of the process, his government would not fail in its service delivery but would finish up as many projects as it possibly could.
“The truth is that the service demands don’t stop; they continue on an incremental basis and that is why we need experienced hands to continue this work; and this is why it is important not to attempt to experiment with an administration that would mess up this important State not only in Nigeria but in the African sub-Region”, Governor Fashola said.
Also speaking journalists, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said with the signing of the budget into law, the pace of implementation would intensify as Government agencies could now access the full estimates provided for them in the budget.
The Commissioner explained that agencies of government were allowed by law to access only the provisional estimates of 25 percent before the signing of the budget adding that now that the budget has been signed it would be “firing at all fronts from tomorrow” (Monday).
Reiterating that the present administration would continue to render service to Lagosians till the very last day, Akabueze, who hinted that the administration would soon announce the performance of the 2014 Budget, noted , that the State was not immune to the economic challenges facing the nation.
He, however, expressed joy that 70 percent of the State Government’s budget is to be financed through its own internally generated revenues, adding that although the budget size is N489 billion, that amount has to be generated by government throughout the year over the next 12 months.
“The budget is an estimate of revenues and expenditures that will accrue to this State; the revenue that will accrue over the next 12 months as well as expenditures that we will need to incur”, the Commissioner explained adding, “The overall budget size remains at N489.69 Billion just a little short of N490 Billion, of which N248 Billion approximately will be spent on Capital Expenditures and N241 Billion as Recurrent Expenditure”.
Also present at the event were the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mrs. Florence Oguntuashe, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, TPL Toyin Ayinde, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Yewande Adeshina and her Works and Infrastructure and Legislative and Political Powers Bureau, counterparts, Engnr. Ganiyu Johnson and Hon. Muslim Folarin, as well as Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Hodewu Suru Avoseh and Chairman, House Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, among other members of the State Executive Council and House of Assembly.