The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday began a study of the proposal for the re-ordering of the 2015 budget of the state by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Governor Ambode said N23.97 billion would be re-ordered and that out of this, N18.278 billion is needed for capital projects, while N5.697 would be for recurrent expenditure.
To effectively look into the proposal, the House set up an ad-hoc committee led by Rotimi Olowo representing Shomolu Constituency.
Other members of the committee are Desmond Elliot, Ibrahim Layode, Rasheed Makinde, Dayo Saka Fafunmi, Yinka Ogundimu and Alimi Kassim.
The committee has one week to report back to the House.
Ambode proposed to the re-ordering in a letter dated 3 September, 2015 and read by Wasiu Bisiriyu, the acting clerk of the House.
In the letter, the governor said that the 2015 budget falls below expectation as its performance shows a recurrent expenditure of 97 percent and a capital expenditure performance of 29 percent.
“The budget as at the 30th of June, 2015, had a 63 percent overall performance, a far cry from the set target of 100 percent.
“When further analysed, the recurrent expenditure stood at 97 percent while the capital expenditure was at an abysmal 29 percent performance, portending a 24:76 capital/recurrent ration.
“This level of performance has made it imperative to go back to the drawing board to structure a more conscientious approach to tilt our total capital investment in the remaining months of Y2015 in order to meet the target capital/recurrent ratio of 51:49.”
Ambode listed some of the projects to be embarked upon through the budget re-ordering to include the construction of a pedestrian bridge at Ojodu Berger area of the state and the construction of fly-over bridges at Ajah Roundabout and Pen Cinema, Agege.
The governor also said the re-ordered budget would cater for the continuation of the construction of blue light rail project in the Badagry axis of the state, the continuation of the construction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway and the acquisition of emergency/rescue helicopters and heavy duty equipment (cranes and forklift) for the state as well as the Employment Trust Fund and Wealth Creation Programmes of the state.
“Furthermore, there is need to provide fund to support the recent restructuring exercise and realignment of MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) aimed at improving and strengthening the civil service and delivery of democratic dividends to the citizenry, particularly in the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Office of Civic Engagement and Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global).
“It is worthy of note that we are constrained by the fact that there are no new revenue sources for the remaining months of the year, and as a result we would not be in a position to propose a supplementary Budget. Hence, the recourse to a re-ordering of the Y2015 Budget,” the governor told the lawmakers.
While debating the proposal, one of the lawmakers, Saka Fafunmi, proposed the setting-up of a committee to look into the request.
He was supported by his colleague, Segun Olulade, who said that the letter was overdue and that the state yearns for infrastructural development.
The Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, noted that the state government would soon present the 2016 budget and that this could affect the budget re-ordering.
He also called the attention of the Governor to the need for the House to approve the merging of ministries.
Gbolahan Yishawu from Eti Osa Constituency 2 suggested that the matter should be given a speedy attention, adding “the executive council should give us enough insight into collections of revenue to know how the different agencies are performing.
“We should look at this when we are considering next year’s budget. A particular source can increase even if we don’t have a new source.”
But Tobun Abiodun representing Epe Constituency 1 at the House, observed that the content of the letter was straightforward enough and that the House did not need to raise an ad-hoc committee to handle the matter.
To him, the budget size is still the same and the House should not waste time on the matter since Lagos residents have started complaining that the Governor has not performed well in the last 100 days in office.
His colleague, Rotimi Olowo from Shomolu Constituency 1, said that it is not an aberration to look into the proposal.
He explained that the fall in price of oil globally and other economic challenges have affected the implementation of the budget in the state.
Closing the debate, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said Governor Ambode should be commended for continuing with the projects of the former governor.
He added: “it shows that members of our party work hand in hand. Most of the things written in the letter are part of the resolutions of the House.
“The Governor deserves commendation and we should support him at all times.
“We will set-up a committee on the issue and give the proposal a speedy treatment.”
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