Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
The Lagos chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the state’s House of Assembly to summon Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to explain his assertion that the state will not be able to generate internal revenue for the remaining period of the year.
The PDP was reacting to the Governor’s letter to the Lagos State House of Assembly to approve a N250 billion loan for the state.
Sanwo-Olu in a recent letter to the lawmakers said the budgetary provisions for both recurrent and capital budget of Ministries, Departments and Agencies were not likely to be utilised before the end of the year and the sum of N34.050 billion could be re-ordered.
He added that the government was constrained by the lack of revenue for the remaining months of the year and, as a result, would not be in a position to propose a supplementary budget; hence, the recourse to re-ordering 2019 budget.
The state PDP, however, in a statement signed by Taofik Gani, its Publicity Secretary, said the assertion that the state cannot generate additional revenue was false and misleading.
“We declare this assertion as very uninformed and deliberately to divert the state internally generated revenue (IGR). We have intelligence report that the state IGR is now around N60 to N70 billion every month, but that the actual collections are never made public. What the Lagos House of Assembly should rather do is to summon the Governor, and his Commissioner for Finance, to explain to Lagosians how the state would not have IGR for the remaining months in the year,” the party stated.
“The PDP states that the loan request must be opposed by Lagosians because the request is made under very unclear needs and, unless the Governor allows public defense of the loan request, we hold that 60 percent of the sought loan is to be shared essentially to placate the chieftains of the APC.”
The PDP also called on the House of Assembly to reappraise revenue collection in the state to make Alpha Betta, the company that collects revenue on behalf of the state, account for every penny it collects on behalf of the state.
“Indeed, the time is now over due for the IGR collecting private company, Alpha Betta, to be reappraised and brought to account to Lagosians. Lagosians have long been shortchanged,” the PDP said.
It accused the Sanwo-Olu administration of needlessly trying to plunge the state into terminal economic misdirection with a loan it said is not meant to develop the state but to be shared among political associates.
“As it is, Lagos State is already indebted to over N2 trillion as local and foreign loans; whereas, there are indeed no projects to evidence such colossal debt. All the assumed developments in the state are pivoted by private investors, philanthropic individuals and donor organisations.
“Lagosians are at the lowest ebb of development relative to the colossal debt incurred and meant for developments. Now experiencing worst distress and economic hardship, the so called emergencies declared by Governor Sanwo-Olu have all turned out to be mere political statements compelled to feign concern. This is so as no evidence of immediate actions can be noticed,” Gani said in the party statement.
The party spokesman cautioned that any attempt by the House of Assembly to approve the loan request will be tantamount to the lawmakers declaring a vote of no confidence on itself.