Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Sunday signed the state’s N489.690billion 2015 Appropriation Bill into law. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s assent to the bill followed its passage by the state’s House of Assembly on January 6. The budget comprises N247.713 billion capital expenditure and N241.977 billion recurrent expenditure.
Assenting to the bill at the State House, Marina, Fashola said the budget would focus on the completion of on-going projects in the state. The governor expressed the confidence that the budget would not only deliver life impacting projects, but would also impact massively on the lives of residents. Fashola said he chose to sign the budget on a Sunday to enable him attend the National meeting of the All Progressive Congress APC in Abuja on Monday.
He said the decision would enable the ministries, parastatal agencies and others to commence implementation of the budget while he would be away. The governor said there is no excuse for any government to delay the passage and signing of the budget because of the ongoing electioneering campaigns across the country.
Fashola said: “When we presented the budget, there were financial challenges, but as you know, our revenue has been based largely on our common contribution; that is how we build our common wealth here. “We need to be innovative, inventive and hard-working and that is what we have given in the last eight years and we won’t give anything less and with the support of the people of Lagos.
“They are the owners of this government and all of its service delivery programmes and I think as difficult and challenging as the revenue issue may be, we will consolidate and finish as many possible projects as we can”.
He urged residents in the state to ensure that gains of his administration are consolidated by voting the APC governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambodeduring the general elections. Meanwhile, on his part, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze said approximately N248billion would be spent on capital expenditure and N241billion on recurrent expenditure.
He said that the fall in the global oil price might not likely affect the state government and the performance of its budget. According to him, the pace of ongoing projects will be intensified with the signing of the budget into law. “The projected fall in the oil price has already been factored into the budget. The truth of the matter is that oil prices are always difficult to forecast. “Since I started following those forecasts, everybody who has forecast oil prices over the years has failed. They haven’t got it right.
“For us, thankfully over 70 percent of our budget is financed through our own Internally Generated Revenue. There are some linkage even between IGR and oil but it is not a direct dependency in that sense. “This also challenges us to explore additional avenues to enhance revenue. That will be the major focus this year,” Akabueze said.
A breakdown of the budget showed that Economic Affairs has the highest allocation of N146.305 billion, followed by General Service, N107.69 billion, Education, N82.14 billion; Housing and Community Amenities, N49.033 billion, Health, N44.619 billion and Environmental Protection, N34.953 billion.Others are: Public Safety and Order, N15.547 billion; Recreation, Culture and Religion, N3.118 billion; Social Protection, N1.589 billion, Planning Reserve, N2.26 billion and Contingency, N2.448 billion.