Sunday Ani, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has presented a budget estimate of N1,155,022,413,005.82 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year to the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Presenting the budget christened ‘Budget of rekindled hope,’ yesterday at the state House of Assembly Chambers, the Governor equally promised to draft an executive bill to the House for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies. He said the move would reduce the costs of governance, as well as signal selflessness in public service.
The Governor equally stated that COVID-19 pandemic, the #EndSARS protests, the general feeling of disenchantment in the polity, the socio-economic yearnings of Lagosians for good governance, as well as the stringent calls in all societal spheres for a more representative democracy that speaks to the issues of sovereign wealth, economic growth, consistent progress and equitable quality of life, were the major factors put into consideration in preparing the budget.
A sectoral breakdown of the budget puts economic affairs, education and health ahead of others with N381.852 billion, N143.655billion and N118.360billion respectively. General public services, which comprises agriculture, commerce, tourism and others got N108.005billion; science and technology N28.272billion; public order and safety N32.757billion and agriculture N18.311billion among others.
The Governor reiterated his administration’s firm commitment to a legacy of hope, financial stability, and fiscal prudence, as he promised a drastic reduction in the discriminatory impact of poverty by strengthening all regulatory and institutional frameworks that are crucial to the preservation of the state’s rich cultural, financial, and historical heritage. “We have resolved to keep exploring Public-Private Partnership strategies in the provision of infrastructure, social services and the conversion of our challenges to opportunities within the context,” he stated
He justified the call for Lagos State to be given special status as the nation’s commercial nerve centre, saying, “I don’t think we are asking for too much going by our huge population and contribution to national prosperity. According to Lagos State, a special status will improve our efficiency in managing some of the infrastructures that serve the national economy. This is the heart of Nigeria’s economy; every investment in the infrastructure of Lagos is an investment in rapid economic growth for Nigeria.”
He assured Lagosians that the state government would remain committed to communal cohesiveness and inter-ethnic unity, warning that the state would resist every attempt to cause division among the numerous ethnic nationalities that regard Lagos State as their home.
“Lagos State remains a microcosm of the entire African continent and a melting pot for all Nigerians. Nothing and no one can undermine our security, continued oneness, and our unrivalled dedication to the prosperity of our people,” he said.
In his response, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa assured Lagosians that the House would actualize their hope in the state government even as he urged them to play their own part always.
He stated assured that the House would work together with the Executive to bring succour to all the individuals affected in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest.
The Speaker equally harped on the need for the state to be moved forward, saying, “It is over 20 years already that a solid foundation was erected by the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is high time that we established a new pedestal of infrastructural developments and revenue generation in the state. The state should be like a bold polar bear in challenging restraining obstacles. It should be focused like a lion chasing prey and ensure peaceful atmosphere like in a dove environment.”
He also emphasized on the need to increase and strengthen the manpower of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps stressing that they need to be empowered and equipped with necessary tools that would make their job effective.
He noted that the youths’ agitation was in order but advised them to desist from any form of destruction and vandalism of public property while the government works out modality to meet their yearnings.