2015 Budget: Fashola proposes N489.69b to assembly

(November 24, 2014) Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has presented a budget proposal of N489.69 billion for the 2015 fiscal year to the Lagos State Assembly for approval. The budget is the same as that of 2014, which stood at N489.69 billion, while it still retains its zero deficit in order to ensure that the next government does not inherit a deficit. The capital to recurrent ratio is 51:49 for 2015 which is the same as 2014 budget.

The budget is made up of capital expenditure of N249.232 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N239.948 billion in the ratio of 51:49 respectively.

A breakdown of the budget showed that economic affairs has the highest allocation of N146.305 billion, followed by general service, N107.69 billion, housing and community amenities, education, N82.14 billion; 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 contigency, N2.448 billion.

“As you will observe, we have retained essentially the same budget size as 2014. This is for many reasons. One reason is that we have kept a zero deficit in order to ensure that the next government does not inherit a deficit. This will give them room to start off very quickly when their programmes begin to crystallize and they may need to raise funds in order to start off.

“Another reason is that our budgets, like all good budgets are not only defined by plans and expectations, they make more sense if they are defined by resources.”

The governor said the federal government is still owing Lagos state government N51billion certified and unpaid, out of N59billion expended on federal government roads in Lagos.

“They are also owing pension obligations of N673.67 billion which they have not paid. And as all of us are aware, oil prices have dropped from $100 per barrel and above to just around $80 per barrel at the time we finalized the budget.

“Our monthly receipts from FAAC have fallen below our usually conservative expectations for the first time in seven years. And lately, we are noticing that reduced patronage of the tourism and entertainment facilities has occurred in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak. This has translated to reduced consumption and consequently reduced incomes in the consumption tax sub-head of our Internally Generated Revenue,” he said.

According to Fashola, “Because we will not implement this budget fully by ourselves, we have thought it fit to moderate expectations in order to avoid disappointments. I remain optimistic however that our workers’ successful and courageous containment of the Ebola infection is the strongest statement of who we are and in no time I expect that activities in those tourist facilities will pick up because the confidence in our government is very high out there.”

He said in spite of these challenges, the 2015 budget would focus on payment of contractors’ liabilities to enable government complete as many projects as possible before handing over.

He added that one of the highlights of the 2015 budget would be the settlement of outstanding pension liabilities.

“Our Government has therefore committed to pay and now budgets for the 142% arrears, in addition to 12% and 6% recent reviews. This is the least that we think these public servants deserve. Apart from this, our contributory pension have been largely up to date, except for a few parastatals for whom we are also making provisions,” he said.

In an address, Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji assured Governor Fashola that he and his colleagues in the assembly will meticulously perform their statutory duty concerning the appropriation bill.

While commending Fashola for being astute and courageous, the Speaker pointed out that the governor has maintained a track record of resourceful consistency in the last seven and a half years; describing him as a rare breed and first among equals.

According to Ikuforiji, "it is no surprise that under your leadership, the GDP and wealth of Lagos state is far greater than that of many countries combined.

“In your usual punctual manner, you have presented the budget estimates for the next fiscal year before most of your colleagues in other states; indeed, every leader of men puts on the twin cloak of leadership and stewardship; this is that period where that of stewardship must be more pronounced than ever before.”

“We have all listened with rapt attention to how the wealth of our state will be utilised for our common good in 2015; the onus is now on the members of this Honourable House to do the needful; I assure you that we will meticulously perform our professional duty

“Permit me to remind this gathering that the matter of budget presentation is essential; beyond its constitutional stipulation, it requires the backing of law to make it implementable and executable; without which it becomes an offence punishable under law.”

"Section 121 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that “The Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assembly at any time before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the Revenues and Expenditure of the State for the next financial year”.

“This is necessary to obtain legislative consent or approval for the amount of money to be spent on specific items in the coming financial year.

“I said earlier that this 2015 Appropriation Bill is epochal: it is the last budget proposal to be presented by Governor Babatunde Fashola; it is the last I will be receiving as Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji; and for this singular reason, we hope your Excellency has reserved the best for the last, especially for the betterment of Lagos and Lagosians.

“Mr. Governor, you have upped the ante of governance in our country; therefore, Lagosians and their representatives at the Lagos State House of Assembly are sure that this budget proposal will create further economic opportunities for Lagosians,” the Speaker stated.

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