Education, Health top priority as Lagos presents 2020 budget

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, presenting the Y2020 Budget Estimate to the Lagos House of Assembly at the Hallowed Chamber of the Assembly on Friday, November 8, 2019.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has presented an estimated budget of about 1.168 Trillion Naira to the State House of Assembly, with education and health top priority.

Governor Sanwo-Olu tagged the 2020 Budget Proposal, ‘The Budget of Awakening’ saying it will be funded by a projected Total Revenue of 1.071 trillion Naira, and a deficit amounting to 97.53 billion Naira.

The budget size which is higher than the 2019 budget by 34%, has its Capital expenditure amounts to 723.75 billion Naira while the Recurrent Expenditure is 444.81 billion Naira, giving a 62:38 capital to recurrent ratio.

The Governor said with a proposed fiscal plan of N115 billion for public infrastructure, Lagos State, next year, will be a massive construction site.

Governor Sanwo-Olu explained that the presentation unveiled his administration’s plan to accelerate the growth of State’s economy by proposing aggressive investments in critical areas of priorities – physical infrastructure, environment, human capital and security.

He also mentioned that the budget deficit, put at N97.53 billion, would be financed through internal and external loans. Besides, the fiscal proposal also included a provision for the new minimum wage.

Budget breakdown
Giving a breakdown of the budget, Governor Sanwo-Olu earmarked 62 per cent, representing N723.75 billion of total spending, for capital expenditure.

He said “recurrent expenditure, put at 38 per cent, would take N444.81 billion.”

About N167.81 billion of the recurrent expenditure will go for personnel costs and other staff-related expenses, representing 22.02 per cent of the total revenue. This, the Governor noted, is within the acceptable wage policy, which benchmarks 25 per cent staff overheads in the budget.

Basic infrastructure
Explaining why his administration will be earmarking huge funds to the environment and public infrastructure, the Governor said Lagos had been facing combined threats from population explosion and climate change.

Lagos faces an existential threat, arising from the interplay of demographic and climate change. Lagos will continue to be a magnet for multitudes within and outside Nigeria, in search of jobs and economic prosperity. These levels of migration put phenomenal strain on the physical and fiscal resources of the state.

“This budget seeks to aggressively invest in and develop our education, health and other physical infrastructure sectors. As at September 2019, our capital expenditure on works and infrastructure was just N31 billion, which is less compared with N78 billion proposed in the current year. It is our intention to spend N115 billion on physical infrastructure in 2020.  

“In response to the perennial challenges of flooding in the metropolis, we have to triple the capital budget provision to tackle this observed problems from N3 billion in 2019 to N9 billion in 2020. We are embarking on massive desilting of major drain systems across the State next year,” he said.

Budget allocation
Governor Sanwo-Olu plans to spend N48 billion on education and technology. This represents 60 per cent rise in capital allocation to the Ministry of Education.

On healthcare, the State plans to spend N33 billion on healthcare programmes, which include proposed revamping and re-equipping over 350 Primary Health Centres.

Governor Sanwo-Olu described the proposed budget as “unique”, noting that its details reflected the wishes of residents, following series of consultations and feedback from stakeholders across senatorial districts.

The Governor assured residents of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the budget, saying “there would be strict performance mechanism to drive compliance and measure the progress of the budget at the execution stage.”

He stressed that the proposed budget would help the State achieve a sustainable social investment and scale up private sector-led economic growth through investment in infrastructure and security.

Budget Re-ordering
Governor Sanwo-Olu said that the approved re-ordering of the 2019 budget by the legislature gave the Government an opportunity to raise N250 billion in addressing critical infrastructure needs.

These include; rehabilitation of public schools, ongoing construction of Lagos–Badagry Expressway, Agege–Pen Cinema Overhead Bridge, Agric–Isawo Road, Bola Ahmed Tinubu–Igbogbo Road, and an ongoing road rehabilitation by Lagos Public Works.

He said that the loan would also enable his administration to start the desilting of drain systems, provision of security and emergency hardware, light rail infrastructure, and construction of a General Hospital in Ojo, which is to be fitted with a Spinal and Neurology Unit.

Governor Sanwo-Olu reiterated that his administration’s development agenda, known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S, was designed to address major challenges facing the State and create a city that would work for the citizens.

He added that his administration was ready to transform Lagos by rethinking projects that would improve the wellbeing of the residents.

Tackling challenges
The Lagos State Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, praised Governor Sanwo-Olu for accepting the responsibility to tackle challenges the state faced.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Right), with the Speaker, State House of Assembly,  Mudashiru Obasa (L)

Obasa said the Governor’s activities since his assumption of office had re-assured Lagosians about Sanwo-Olu’s zeal to fix problems he inherited from the last administration.

He said; “Mr. Governor, your actions so far have shown the zeal, desire and passion in you to get things done, to fix what has been left undone and to move the state forward. Hence, we believe that the content of the budget will serve this purpose in making life worthy of living for our people in Lagos.”

The speaker promised that the Assembly would ensure speedy passage of the budget and make it a “New Year” gift for the people of the State.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere