By Okunade Adekunle
Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt ( Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, has said security would be given serious consideration in the 2021 budget, saying the state government would improve on what it had achieved.
Obasa said this while speaking with journalists at the opening ceremony of a 4-Day Retreat On Medium-Term Expenditure Framework And Budget Process For Members And Staff of Lagos State House of Assembly tagged ” Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) As A Critical Tool For Effective Planning And Budgeting” held in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
The Speaker said although security had improved tremendously but that the achievements need to be consolidated.
” Lagos state has always taken the issue of security very seriously and that is why if you look at our expenditure largely on RRS which happens to be part of Nigeria police, you will see that annually, we have expended alot on security to ensure that we protect the lives and properties of our people in Lagos and I don’t see us deviating from that”, said Obasa.
” We must give credit to the state government because if you compare the security situation in Lagos with other part of the country, you will agree with me that we have done tremendously well in Lagos when it comes to the issue of security and i think we will keep to it and improve on what we have achieved. I won’t say we will increase the budget for security, but I want to assure you that security will be a major consideration in the coming budget, although, that is left for the executive but as the representatives of the people surely we will look for it in the budget”, said Obasa.
Speaking on the essence of the retreat, Obasa said that it was to enhance the human capacity of the lawmakers in the area of budget oversight, saying that the knowledge of MTEF is critical to the understanding of budget planning and process.
He added that the knowledge acquired from the retreat would improve the oversight performance of the lawmakers in the coming years, stressing that it would add positively to the understanding of their roles in the discharge of their responsibility during oversight.
He added that knowing what may happen in the next three years, the understanding of budget planning would put the legislature in a position of either to collaborate with the executive or question the planning where it was believed not to be of benefit to the people.
He said despite the challenges of COVID 19, the 2020 budget was well implemented and that the state government was able to put smile of the faces of the people.
” Inspite revenue short fall, we still experience more infrastructural development activities going on. The budget has done so well”, said Obasa.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, who represented the Speaker before his arrival, said the resource persons were highly knowledgeable in budget planning and budgeting and that the participants would enjoy every bit of the programme.
Sanni-Eshinlokun said a proper understanding of MTEF would aid lawmakers’ understanding of budgeting and budgeting process, adding that ” At the end of the retreat, lawmakers would have been well educated on the essence of MTEF to effective planning and budget process and that the knowledge would help them in their oversight duties”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Acting Clerk of the House, Bar. Olalekan Onafeko, said Lagos since its emergence as a democratic state in 1979 had been playing the role in the transformation of Nigeria economy, saying that it had remained the nerve centre of ECOWAS with a Gross National Product (GNP) of any West Africa Country.
Onafeko added ” Beyond its shores, Lagos is regarded as the nerve centre of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with a Gross National Product (GNP) that is three times that of any West African Country, thus making it the hub and the springboard for innovation and development in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
” With these critical facts in mind, it is highly instructive to note that managing a state like Lagos with such huge economy and massive population coupled with constant daily influx of citizens from other states across the nation is certainly by no means easy.
” It is said that if Lagos sate were to be a country, it would be the 5th largest economy in Africa. Thus, attaining this enviable stature has taken years of committed leadership, meticulous planning, sustainable development, collaborative efforts within the arms of government, and particularly with robust representation by the legislature”, he added.
Onafeko stressed ” Consequently, in order to consistently consolidate on its gains over the years in providing the Executive arm with pragmatic legislative framework, synergy and effective oversight that have fuelled comprehensive reforms, policies and enviable developments across the State, the leadership of the House places much premium and serious emphasis on the regular, periodic and strategic training and retraining of Honourable Members and staff. Hence, this 4-Day Retreat on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Budget Process.
” If you may kindly recall, in June, 2020, the governor of the State Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu requested for the “Reordering of Priorities under the Y2020 Budget. This was graciously approved by the House considering the realities of the economic headwind occasioned by the COVID 19 Pandemic and necessitating a revision of the Y2020 Budget with a forecast of a revenue drop of 24% at the time”.
” Therefore, this retreat on Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Budget Process which is nothing but another landmark and proactive measure by the leadership of the House in analysing and exploring the financial prospects of the state within the next three to five years, including the budgeted fiscal year.
” It is expected that this retreat will engender robust discussions, thought provoking questions, and indeed increase the understanding and efficiency of Honourable Members in responding to the citizens’ needs towards poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth by priotising developmental plans with transparency and accountability”, said Onafeko.