Drama as Ambode at Last Presents N852.316bn Budget

There was a mild drama at the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode finally presented  the 2019 budget to the  Assembly.

The event, which was scheduled to start at 9am,  did not begin  until some minutes past 2pm.

When the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, asked the clerk if there was any message from the governor, he said, “No.”

 The House was about to begin the day’s proceedings when the sergeant-at-arms signaled that the governor was around.

The  Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, therefore, moved a motion to activate the Assembly’s order 144 to allow the governor to participate in the proceedings.

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Presenting a  budget sum of N852.316bn before the Assembly, Ambode said the budget was  planned to give Lagos residents a new lease of life.

He said, “From the inception of this administration, we’ve focused on security, transport, traffic management, housing, health, wealth creation, economic, infrastructure, among others.

“However, we experienced a reduction in our revenue projections, which affected our projected performance and our desired implementation of the 2018 budget. The overall budget performance as of  November 2018 stood at 60 per cent, which was N574,206bn,  with a cumulative total revenue of N530,192bn, 64 per cent. Capital Expenditure closed at N311,930bn, 49 per cent and recurrent expenditure performed at N262,276bn, 82 per cent.”

Ambode  said N462.757bn representing 54 per cent of the total budget size had been earmarked for capital expenditure, while N389.560bn representing 46 per cent had been dedicated to recurrent expenditure, saying  projects such as the Oshodi-Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road and Oshodi Interchange Terminal would be completed.

He  said the government had been  consolidating public financial management and technology-driven revenue reforms through data integration and the use of multi-payment channels.

Obasa said the allegations that the Assembly spends N800m monthly were  not true.

 The speaker added, “The issue was between one arm of the government and another and what was at stake was the issue of appropriation, but unfortunately, no one from the executive has come out to refute the baseless allegations.

“Since no one has come out to address them, it is incumbent on us to debunk the allegations.

“I use this medium to challenge the faceless group to prove that this Assembly has been collecting N800m per month as alleged.”

-PUNCH

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