Lagos — Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, presented a budget proposal of N489.690 billion for the 2014 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly for consideration and eventual ratification.
Fashola, however, faulted the recent approval of $200 million World Bank loan by the Federal Government for the state to fund capital projects, saying, "it slowed down the state government activities for two years."
The 2014 budget comprises of a recurrent expenditure of N234.665 billion and capital expenditure of N255.025 billion.
While the total personnel cost/total revenue is 19 per cent, total personnel cost/IGR, 27 per cent, and personnel cost, as percentage of recurrent expenditure is 37.
The 2014 proposed appropriation is N9.587 billion less than this year's budget, which was said to require a zero deficit financing.
The capital to recurrent ratio is 52:48 for next year as against 58:42 in 2013.
Fashola, while presenting the budget before a large audience of stakeholders, party chieftains and captains of industry at the House of Assembly, explained that the drop in the figure was because, "this is the last full year budget that my administration will be implementing.
"It represents a slight reduction in size when compared with the 2013 budget. Its focus will be to complete on-going projects, and consolidate on the gains we have made."
The event was also witnessed by the former Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, a former speaker and a serving Senator; Joko Pelumi, also an ex-speaker; members of the State Executive Council, the Head of Service, Permanent Secretaries, among others.
The governor noted that the budget would require a zero deficit financing.
Fashola, while reading the sectoral allocation of the budget said: "The sector with the largest share is the Economic Affairs which takes N160,046,436,169 representing 32.68 per cent of the total budget.
"It is immediately followed by the General Public Service which received slightly over N100.2billion, representing 20.47 per cent."
Other sectors include: Education, N77,423, 827, 872 or 15.81 per cent, Environmental Protection, N39,727,711,248 (8.11 percent); Recreation, Culture & Religion, N3,482,081,806 ( 0.71 percent); Housing & Community Amenities, N50,537,201,984 (10.32 per cent); Health, N37,812,553,057 (7.72 per cent); Public Order and Safety, N17,977,368,027, (3.67 per cent); Social Protection, N2,466,309,939, (0.50 per cent)
Justifying the Economic Affairs' lion share, Fashola said: "This sector consists of implementation of various Independent Power Projects, IPPs, projects, Development of Enterprise Zone in Gberigbe, Ikorodu and Upgrading of Yaba Industrial Park, Advancement of Ten-Lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway/Blue Rail Line Corridor, completion of other on-going road construction projects and pedestrian bridges and Agric-YES, Accelerated Food Expansion Programme: Rice, Animal Husbandry, Root Crops."
"The General Public Service will provide for Pensions, Residents Registration and Issuance of permanent residents' cards by LASRRA, and Implementation of Public Procurement Law."
Clarifying further, he said from December 1, 2013, LASRRA Identity Card, ID, would be a requirement in terms of information needed to enable us provide service to Lagosians or process requests from them.
Meanwhile, the governor said that the central government's guaranteed loan for the state, was meant to fund capital projects such as the Light Rail, Adiyan Water Works, among others.
According to him: "While I thank them for finally giving the approval, it is instructive to contextualise the timing of the approval.
"You might all re-call that in 2010 when I presented the year 2011 budget, I announced that we had negotiated a World Bank loan for $600m to fund a three-year medium term expenditure framework for years 2011, 2012 and 2013 which required Federal Government's approval.
"Although the approval for the loan was given then and the year 2011 first tranche for $200m was released in that year, the year 2012 and 2013 tranches were frustrated by Federal Government agencies.
"It is the year 2012 component and year 2013 component that is now being approved in the last quarter of 2013.
"Our state's development was held up and slowed down for two years. The progress on the rail was held back, supply of additional 70 million gallons from Adiyan Water Works was slowed down, progress on Lagos Badagry Expressway was slowed down. Improvement in the quality of life of Lagosians was slowed down.
"But painfully we have had to borrow money at shorter tenures of seven years and higher interest rates of 17 per cent and 14 per cent, instead of one per cent and 40 year tenure which the delayed World Bank loan offered," he said.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, in his reaction, noted that the presentation of the budget was a constitutional matter under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 121 (1).
He observed that members of the legislative arm were saddled with the responsibility to look into the budget presented by the Governor and determine how the state would maximise its benefit to the generality of the people and addressed the issues of poverty and deprivation.
According to him: "We will apply our utmost best within our legislative powers to give this budget proposal the detailed attention it deserves for its transformation into appropriation bill for the benefit, prosperity, growth and development of Lagos State and Lagosians."