*Signs N812.998bn Appropriation Bill into Law
*Gov delivering on his promises, Says Speaker
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday signed the N812.998bn Y2017 Appropriation Bill into Law, with a promise that it would be judiciously implemented to consolidate on the modest milestones recorded in the last 18 months and propel the State to a path of prosperity.
The Governor, who spoke at a brief but impressive ceremony, held at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the 2017 budget, christened, “Golden Jubilee Budget” was his administration’s contract with Lagosians to continue to build an all-inclusive economy throughout the year.
The Governor thanked the Speaker and members of the House of Assembly for their forthrightness and speedy consideration and approval of the Appropriation Bill, which he presented to the House on November 29, 2016 and was passed to Law on January 3, 2017.
He said the N812.998bn Y2017 budget was in line with the State Development Plan 2012-2025, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2017-2019, based on the State’s Four Pillars of Development Plan which include: Infrastructure Development, Economic Development, Social Development and Security as well as Sustainable Environment.
Governor Ambode, while assuring that his administration would immediately hit the ground running to implement the budget, expressed optimism that the national economy would begin a path of recovery this year.
“We are encouraged by the budget performance of last year (2016) which stood at 78 per cent. Our total Capital Expenditure in 2017 will be N507.816bn while Recurrent Expenditure is estimated at N305.182bn.
“Our government is committed to prudent financial management and equitable allocation of resources for the general good and will ensure proper fiscal discipline in the implementation of this Appropriation Law,” Governor Ambode said.
While alluding to the fact that obligations and duties of citizens like tax payments have become noticeably better, self-induced and encouraging, Governor Ambode sought the cooperation and understanding of all taxpayers to successfully implement the budget, saying that government would continue to strive harder to improve service-delivery in all sectors.
“We encourage all tax payers to continue in this spirit and also take advantage of available multi-pay channels in fulfilling their civic obligations. Do not pay to touts or illegal channels. Make sure your tax payments count. We are doing everything to eliminate poor services to you,” he said.
In his goodwill message, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said the judicious implementation of the 2016 Budget by Governor Ambode, against all odds, has gone a long way to confirm his financial expertise.
The Speaker, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, said many laudable projects including the construction of 114 Roads across all the local governments in the state within a year was a first in the history of Nigeria.
“That means by 2023, just in eight years, he would have done over 1,000 roads in addition to what the Ministry of Works and Public Works Corporation is doing.
“Another area that is unbeatable is the ‘Light up Lagos’, which no doubt increases the economy of our mothers and fathers. That is in tandem with Article of Faith as entrenched in the 1999 Constitution, which summarily explains that the Governor is determined and committed,” the Speaker said.
Earlier, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade who gave a breakdown of the budget, said a total of N507.816billion has been earmarked for capital expenditure, while N305.182billion is for recurrent expenditure making up a total expenditure of N812.998billion and an aggregate capital to recurrent ratio of 62:38.
Ashade, who is also the Commissioner overseeing the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, said Y2017 budget which would largely be driven by Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) made up of taxes, rates, levies and others, would be focused on continuous promotion of massive investments in security, infrastructure, transport/traffic management, physical and social infrastructural development, environment, health, housing, tourism, power, e-governance, education, agriculture and skill acquisition.
While explaining the sectoral breakdown of the budget, Ashade said a total of N141.692billion was earmarked for roads and other infrastructure, while Agriculture and Food Security got N4.795billion with Tourism and Environment getting N20.247billion and N24.031billion respectively.
A further breakdown of the budget showed that Water got N20.082billion; Housing, N50.344billion; Health, N51.447billion; Sports Development, N9.457billion; Education, N92.445billion; Commerce and Industry, N1.500billion, Wealth and Employment Creation, N6.250billion; Women Affairs, N2.193billion; Youth and Social Development, N2.698billion; Governance, N11.193billion; Science and Technology, N11.000billion; Security, Law and Order, N39.722billion, while N3.800billion was set aside for the 7.5 percent Government Share to Pension Contribution and N7.150billion for Pension Redemption Bond Fund-Shortfall.
On Transportation, Ashade said N49.077billion was earmarked for the Blue Rail Line, advancement of the 10-Lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway, construction of jetties and terminals especially for the Epe and Marina Shoreline Protection and procurement of ferries to improve on water transportation and encourage tourism, while also disclosing that attention would be paid to the expansion of BRT corridors in Oshodi-Abule-Egba, and other corridors.