Education, Economic Affairs, General Public Service, take lion share
- “Focus would be to complete on-going projects, and consolidate on the gains we have made”, says Governor
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday presented to the State House of Assembly for approval a total Budget Estimate of N489. 690 billion for the 2014 financial year saying the focus would be to complete on-going projects and consolidate on the gains of the past budgets.
The amount, which is about N7.587 billion short of the 2013 Estimate, as is traditional with the Governor Fashola administration, prioritizes Capital over Recurrent Expenditure with Economic Affairs, General Public Service and Education taking the lion share.
According to details of the Budget presented in the Chambers of the new House of Assembly, Capital Expenditure took N255.025 billion while Recurrent Expenditure got N234.665 which represents a Capital to Recurrent Expenditure ratio of 52:48 as against 58:42 ratio for 2013.
In sectoral allocation, according to the Budget details, Economic Affairs got the lion share with N160,046,436,169 or 32.68 percent followed by General Public Service which got N100,215,966,990 or 20.47 percent while Education with N77,423,827,872, representing 15.81percent of the Budget Estimate, came third.
Other sectors of the economy that got priorities include Housing and Community Amenities N50,537,201,984 billion or 10.32 percent,Environmental Protection N39,727,711,248 or 8.11 percent, Health N37,812,553,057 or 7.72 percent, Public Order & Safety N17,977,368,027 or 3.67 percent, Recreation, Culture & Religion
N3,482,081,806 or 0.71 and Social Protection which brought up the rear with N2,466,309,939 representing 0.50 percent of the Budget.
Governor Fashola said the amount allocated to Economic Affairs would be deployed towards the implementation of various IPP projects, development of Enterprise Zone in Gberigbe, Ikorodu and Upgrading of Yaba Industrial Park as well as advancement of the 10-Lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway / Blue Rail Line Corridor, completion of other on-going Road Construction Projects and pedestrian bridges and implementation of the Agric-YES, Accelerated Food Expansion Program: Rice, Animal Husbandry, Root and Cash Crops.
For General Public Service, the Governor said the allocation would go for settlement of Pensions, implementation of the on-going Residents Registration exercise and issuance of permanent residents’ card and the implementation of Public Procedure Law while allocation to Education will be utilized to improve Science and ICT facilities in Public Schools as well as pursue improvement of Science and continuous rehabilitation/upgrading of Public School buildings and facilities.
The N50,537,201,984 billion allocated to Housing and Community Amenities would be deployed towards implementation of the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (H.O.M.S), rehabilitation of small scale rural water schemes /implementation of rural electrification projects, provision of rural roads, electronic Certificate of Occupancy project and upgrading of slum areas, the Governor said.
During the Budget year also, Government will engage in the improvement/maintenance of drainage channels, completion of new sewage treatment plant at Odo Iya-Alaro,
advancement of Adiyan Water Works Phase II and improvement of water pipeline in Lagos West as well as continuous tree planting, beautification and climate change projects with the N39,727,711,248 set aside for Environmental Protection.
In the Health Sector, the allocation will be deployed in the upgrading of health facilities renovation and equipping of flagship Primary Healthcare Centres, completion of on-going health facilities such as Ayinke House and completion of the Maternal and Childcare Centres at Epe and Badagry.
Tourism development projects as well as rehabilitation of the Slave Route in Badagry to “Point of No Return” will take the allocation for Recreation, Culture and Religion while the allocation for Social Protection will be spent oncompletion of Ketu Vocational Centre for Children with Disability, provision of recreational facilities for the disabled,
continuous upgrading/completion of Youth Centres and maintenance and upkeep of Old People’s Home, Boys and Girls Remand Homes, the Governor said.
Throwing more light on the reason for the slight reduction in the Year 2014 Budget size as against that of 2013, Governor Fashola said because it represents the last full year budget that his administration would implement, its focus would be to complete on-going projects, and consolidate on the gains already made.
Reviewing the performance of the Year 2013 Budget earlier, Governor Fashola, who noted that the Year 2014 Budget would be the last full year budget that his administration would implement, expressed joy that the current Budget has performed
exceedingly well with a cumulative aggregate performance of 71 percent in first, second and third quarters of the year.
According to the Governor, “In the first quarter of this year, I reported a budget performance of 61percent, while the second quarter performance was 83 percent and the recently reported third quarter performance was 70 percent giving us a cumulative aggregate performance of 71 percent in first, second and third quarters of the year”.
Expressing the commitment of his administration to improving upon the fourth quarter performance, Governor Fashola, however, gave reasons why the performance could not be taken beyond what was reported to include the constraint posed by the limitation of financial resources which, according to him, was a direct consequence of delays in Federal allocation to the State, tax default by a large segment of the society, and the continued growing population of the State which has put immense pressure on existing facilities.
Urging Lagos residents who are yet to start paying their taxes to do so, the Governor declared, “It is a commonwealth that gives everybody a chance to realize their aspirations”, adding that it has helped to reduce the State’s dependence on the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee remittances.
He, however, expressed dismay that the recent inefficiencies that States have experienced in the process of Federal Government agencies accounting for revenues and the consequent delays in remittances owing to disputes over accounts have affected all states in different degrees.
“While our tax contributions have helped to reduce our dependence on the Federal Government monthly FAAC remittance, to about 35 percent of our financial needs, that 35 percent is still critical”, the Governor said, adding, however, that while salaries were delayed in other States it did not happen in Lagos. “But the effect was felt in a slight reduction of our third quarter budget performance”, he said.
Shedding more light on the effects of delays by Federal Government agencies, Governor Fashola said, th recently announced $200 million World Bank loan for the State was not new. He said there had been a delay by the Federal Government in the approval of the 2012/2013 tranches of the $600 million World Bank approved loan to the State to fund capital projects such as the Light Rail, Adiyan Water Works and others.
Noting that the State’s development was held up for two years as a result of the Federal Government delay in approving the year 2012 and 2013 tranches of the loan, Governor Fashola further explained, “Although the approval for the loan was given then and the year 2011 first tranche for $200m was released in that year, the years 2012 and 2013 components were frustrated by Federal Government agencies”, adding that they were only approved in the last quarter of this year.
“While I thank them for finally giving the approval, it is instructive to contextualize the timing of the approval. Progress on the Rail was held back, supply of additional 70 million gallons from Adiyan Water Works was slowed down, progress on Lagos Badagry Expressway was slowed down. Improvement in the quality of life of Lagosians was slowed down, ”the Governor lamented.
He, however, declared, “But we did not sit idly by and moan. We are the Centre of Excellence. Our tax payers’ contributions were our inspiration. We went to the financial market to raise money, knowing that our State is solvent. So the projects such as Lagos Rail, Adiyan Water Works have started and the Lagos-Badagry Road progresses, even though the approval is just coming”
He said as a result of the delays Government had to borrow money at shorter tenures of seven years and higher interest rates of 17 percent and 14 years, instead of one percent and 40-year tenure which the delayed World Bank loan offered, adding, “But nevertheless, our spirits are high, the high interest costs notwithstanding; I am pleased to report progress on these construction sites which provide employment for 1000 workers on the rail project and 500 workers at Adiyan Water Works”.
“The promise of reliable rail transport system for Lagos and an additional 70 million gallons per day of water when Adiyan is completed makes it all worthwhile”, the Governor said.
He said in spite of all the delays and frustrations by detractors, the State is making progress on all fronts adding, “Except for our cynical opponents who need ‘jigi Bola’ to see the progress, the overwhelming consensus within the State, outside the State and all over the world, is that Lagos is working.
On Power, Governor Fashola cited the commissioning of the 10 mega-watts Alausa Secretariat Power Plant, the extension of street lighting earlier in the year to Ikorodu Road from Jibowu to Anthony, as has been done across Lagos including 12 streets in Alimosho, and on Carter Bridge and other areas as part of the achievements made in that sector adding, “In total we have now provided about 70 kilometres of street lighting across Lagos to improve safety and stimulate our night economy”.
Reiterating that the month of October was dedicated as Energy Month, the Governor said his administration has commenced an energy saving initiative adding that a day earlier he flagged off a clean cooking energy initiative of Liquefied Petroleum Gas to reduce wood cutting.
“We are in the process of converting the remaining functional generators to Liquefied Petroleum Gas fired generators which will save us 50 percent in fuel costs’, he said adding, “Pole by pole, IPP by IPP with Lekki and Ikeja GRA IPPs to come next year, we are committed to lighting up Lagos”.
In the area of Agriculture, the Governor, who said the State was gradually inching towards its objective of improving on food security added that the Governor of Ogun State approved land for the State pointing out that as a result, the State was now cultivating 850 hectares of rice, up from the targeted 500 hectares, and milling at the Imota Rice Mill.
“From our farm in Araga, in Epe, we are now producing 150,000 eggs per day, translating to over 50 million eggs a year while our fish and poultry farming programmes are empowering young and old farmers and agriculture has become a business as well as a strategic security initiative in our State”, the Governor said.
He said his administration was determined to improve the quality of nutrition available in the State adding, “Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture is acting appropriately to restore best practices to cattle rearing, slaughter and processing, including the sanctioning of operators of illegal abattoirs”.
“We are not only enforcing, we are also training. This is why we sponsored thirty Five cattle dealers and butchers in Oko-Oba Abattoir on a training excursion to Kenya and Botswana to sensitize them about the vision for cattle and beef production standards that we think our citizens deserve.
Other areas the Governor reported progress include Health, Education, Transportation, Roads, Traffic Management and Security where he said Government has invested taxpayers money to make life better for the citizens adding, “As we embrace these standards, things can only get safer, businesses can only get stronger and opportunities will certainly expand for jobs and jobs seekers, if we move from sub-optimal practices to global best practices”.
Thanking all Lagosians, the All Progressives Congress, political leaders and elected public officials at the State and national levels “for all the work they have done in Lagos and Abuja to improve the quality of life of our people”, Governor Fashola declared, “The platform rekindles hope that the promise of Nigeria is within reach. I am certain that we will all be witnesses to the great dawn that I see on the horizon.
In his remarks after the presentation, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, gave a commitment that the House would apply its utmost best within legislative powers to give the 2014 Budget proposal the undiluted attention it deserves.
While appreciating the efforts of the Executive arm towards ensuring fiscal responsibility in the 2013 Budget, the Speaker urged the Governor to ensure that the Budget addresses debt reduction and completion of on-going projects as already specified in his budget speech.
Prominent among those who attended the Budget presentation were the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, his Finance counterpart, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, former Speakers of the State House of Assembly, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and Mr. Jokotola Pelumi, Chairman of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Henry Ajomale, traditional rulers including the Akran of Badagry, Aholu Menu Toyi 1, captains of industry and other guests from various walks of life including former political office holders.