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Lagos Assembly Under Pressure To Pass 2020 Budget On Monday

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By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE

There is strong indication that the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to the State’s House of Assembly in early November, may be passed into law on Monday before the new year.

According to reliable sources within the government, the lawmakers were given target of monday to pass the budget so that the current administration would not continue to suffer financial incapacitation at the beginning of year 2020.

The sources further disclosed that the budget size may be reduced so as not to end up like the 2019 budget which suffered poor implementation, saying that there is need for the government to be realistic and pragmatic in her financial projections.

They added that critically looking at the budget estimates of some agencies and MDAs, they might not be able to meet up with their financial targets and which may fall doom on the execution of the budget at the long-run.

“The budget estimates of most of the agencies and MDAs that are not majorly revenue generating bodies are not realistic and this will tell on the implementation of the budget if the lawmakers approve the estimates without proper scrutiny.

Initially, when the MDAs and agencies were called upon to defend their estimates, they laid back for weeks and this really affects the interrogation process. Why they laid back was unknown to them alone”, said the sources

Looking at the budget size itself, achieving the purpose of the budget may fall doom because of the current state of the economy and this will affect the level of infrastructural projects in the state”, said the sources

However, speaking with the Chairman House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, he stated that since the presentation of the appropriation bill before the House, the lawmakers had been working round the clock to ensure the best budget is approved.

Braimoh added that for weeks now, heads of MDAs and agencies had been called upon and interrogated on their budget estimates, saying that the exercise had kept the lawmakers more busy during the yuletide.

He was not sure if the budget size might be increased or decreased before being passed into law, but that Lagosians would get a budget that would ensure good governance and delivery of dividend of democracy to them.

“All the MDAs and agencies were invited for interrogation on their budget estimates because we want the best for our people. Lawmakers have been more busy on this budget, scrutinizing and interrogating all necessary areas so that it would achieve its purpose when properly implemented”, said Braimoh

It will be recalled that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had presented the Year 2020 Budget proposal to the House of Assembly, for the past 1months and 19 days, unveiling his administration’s plan to accelerate the growth of the state’s economy by proposing investments in critical areas of priorities – physical infrastructure, environment, human capital and security.

Sanwo-Olu while laying the budget estimate before the House, said the state would be spending N1.168 trillion, which will be funded from a projected Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N1.071 trillion.

“The budget deficit, put at N97.53billion, will be financed through internal and external loans, Sanwo-Olu said.

Besides, the fiscal proposal also included a provision for the new minimum wage.
The proposed 2020 budget is a nearly 40 per cent increase from the N852 billion for 2019 presented by Sanwo-Olu’s predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in February this year.

Giving a breakdown of the budget tagged “Awakening to a Greater Lagos”, Sanwo-Olu earmarked 62 per cent, representing N723.75 billion of total spending, for capital expenditure. He said recurrent expenditure, put at 38 per cent, will take N444.81 billion.

About N167.81 billion of the recurrent expenditure will go for personnel costs and other staff-related expenses, representing 22.02 per cent of the total revenue. This, the governor noted, is within the acceptable wage policy, which benchmarks 25 per cent staff overheads in the budget.

Currently, Lagosians are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the scrutiny and interrogation of the fiscal proposal by the members of the House as fiscal analysts have recently queried how the state government would succeed in financing the budget with loans despite increase in the state’s revenue sources.

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