By Ezra Odogu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, signed the State’s N1.768 trillion “Budget of Continuity” into law to consolidate development strides of his administration and satisfy the yearnings of the residents.
The Governor said the fiscal document not only “aggressively” focus on completing ongoing capital projects, it would also expand intervention programmes and intensify social support to citizens and their means of livelihoods.
The budget was assented to at a short ceremony held at the Governor’s Office in Alausa.
Sanwo-Olu said the spendings would further demonstrate his Government’s determination to scale up good governance and quality service to the citizens through the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, stressing that the budget would propel the State to higher level of fiscal growth and social development.
The 2023 Appropriation Bill has a capital expenditure of N1.019 trillion, representing 58 per cent of the 2023 budget. The recurrent expenditure, representing 42 per cent, is N748 billion, which includes personnel cost, overhead and debt services.
The Governor said the implementation of the budget would see to completion of various ongoing capital projects, including the final construction phase of the 37-kilometre Lagos Red Rail Line from Agbado to Ebute Metta.
He added that the funding for the second phase of the Blue Line from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko had equally been approved in the budget, stressing that the Ojo General Hospital project and mental health facility in Ketu-Ereyun being undertaken by the State Government would race to completion.
Sanwo-Olu said the contractors handling various road and school construction projects in Badagry, Amuwo Odofin, Ikorodu and Eti Osa could now have access to funds to deliver the projects.
He said: “I’m delighted to assent to the 2023 Appropriation Bill transmitted to me after it was passed by the House of Assembly. The budget went through a rigorous review and passed through all the relevant statutory channels required before we now have a live document that can be implemented. This is a budget that speaks to the aspirations and the needs of Lagosians.
“The budget is audacious and its size is a reflection of the confidence our citizens repose in us. It is also a significant improvement in the discharge of the citizens’ civic responsibility in the areas of taxes and levies that are due to the Government. I give assurance of our commitment to prudent implementation and improvement in service delivery that will bring about more dividends of good governance.”
Sanwo-Olu expressed his appreciation to the leaders and members of the House of Assembly for timely consideration and independent ratification assignment done on the document.
The Governor promised to raise the level of implementation of the Appropriation Law, pledging that the ongoing electioneering would not slow down governance process.
Sanwo-Olu said although Lagos had the highest budget among the federating units, he added that the budget size was a far cry from the actual number that should have been proposed which befits Lagos developmental aspiration.
He said the State could do a lot more if the citizens would partner with the Government by committing to pay their taxes.
He said: “Lagosians must know that our Government is committing to protecting their lives and their means of livelihoods. We can provide a lot more opportunities for our citizens in transportation, education, public health and other areas of human endeavour. To achieve these objectives, residents must see the real partner in us.
“We have seen the growth across the city and opportunities for business. Our budget must speak to this growth. Lagos needs to be in the comity of cities that can take opportunities to another level and ventilate its economic potential.”
Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, explained that the budgetary items reflected the wishes of the residents across the State’s five traditional divisions.
He said the coatings were in alignment with long-term sector objectives and in agreement with Lagos State Development Plan.
Chairman, House Appropriation Committee, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, thanked the Governor for bringing an “implementable document” to the House, pointing out that the fiscal document was diligently reviewed before the final draft was approved.