Chizea, Eguge laud Lagos’ jumbo budget

· Say N1.3 trn budget will turn state around

Financial experts have lauded the N1.3 trillion 2022 budget of the Lagos State government, describing it as unprecedented “people-oriented proposal,” with huge capacity to turn around the fortunes of the state.

At the presentation of the estimate titled “Budget of Consolidation” last week, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said it would focus “obsessively on completing ongoing projects, while also expanding our social intervention programs and support for citizens, and for micro and small businesses.”

He added that in the outgoing year, Lagosians could testify to the improved standard of infrastructure delivered by his administration throughout the 377 wards across the state, which aligned with the state’s mission to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth through infrastructural renewal and development.

In separate interviews, the duo of Samuel Eguge, the Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget and an economic expert, Dr. Boniface Chizea, lauded the allocation of over N823 billion to capital expenditure, especially infrastructure, education, security and agriculture, stating that this is coming at period when recurrent expenditure takes the bulk of Federal Government’s budget.

In particular, Chizea, who is the Chief Executive Officer of BIC Consultancy Services said: “The fact that about 59 per cent of the budget goes to capital expenditure, while 41 (N564billion) would be expended on recurrent expenditure at a period when even the Federal Government is doing about 30 per cent on capital expenses is an electrifying development.

“The development is very interesting because it will promote employment and address other social needs. We are not saying that paying salaries is not important but allocating such huge sum to capital expenditure like Works and Infrastructure, Transportation and Commerce and Industry will cascade down to the people and transform their standards of living.

“In fact, once a state crosses 50 per cent in your capital allocation, which not too many states are doing, such state should be commended. Not many states have done so well in that regard. I can’t remember. The fact that a sizable percentage is given to education is also gratifying, though it is still below the UNESCO’s 25 per cent recommendation, but when compared to the fact that we do about five per cent at the national level, it is not a bad one in the state.

“The fact that education and health are accorded their rightful places is gratifying, because as they say, health is wealth. I am aware that such budget will also include payment of salaries, but when the budget is tilted towards the people, it shows government’s sensitivity to the needs of the people, especially now that we are coming out of the pandemic when a lot of people have fallen into the poverty bracket,” he said.

Continuing, Chizea noted: “We are no talking about a situation where about 100 million are poor, and a percentage of Lagos State’s 22 million people is also involved. So if that is the case, anything the state can do reflating the economy will assist the people.

“When a government is doing its budget and it has an environment with high poverty level as this, then a budget that is pro-poor (people), and concentrates on education and health like this one is the best way to go.”

On whether the people will feel the impact, he said: “Well, it will cascade down. Now, we are not surprised by the share huge size of the budget because Lagos is a mini country, and the financial capital of Nigeria. Abuja is administrative capital.

“You will recall that some years back, everything was in Lagos and it is still in Lagos. We have done well in Abuja, but when you talk about the economy, you are talking about Lagos. Though the oil companies were some time ago asked to move their headquarters to their operational base, you will agree that the bulk of their operations are still in Lagos.

“Lagos is the heart of Nigeria, followed by Rivers and Kano. I don’t know which one comes first, but I think it has the largest economy in terms of sea ports, population and market as the governor said about 35 million travel in and out of Lagos State every month. So I’m not surprised by the jumbo size of the budget,” he said.

Recall that Snawo-Olu stated that the state government’s flagship “Eko Excel Programme has so far trained 15,000 teachers on the delivery of lessons through electronic tablets, equipping each teacher with a tablet. We have also rehabilitated 322 dilapidated public schools, provided 87,000 units of dual composite furniture for 775 primary and secondary schools, in addition to the provision of 300 classrooms and seven new hostel blocks.”

Similarly, in the area of empowerment, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), has, over the last five years, disbursed more than N8 billion to over 12,000 businesses, creating more than 150,000 direct and indirect jobs in Lagos State. A quarter of this funding has gone directly to businesses owned and run by young people.

As regards health, the government has completed the new Mother and Child Care (MCC) hospitals in Epe, Badagry and Eti-Osa, and the construction of the New Massey Children’s Hospital in Adeniji Adele, Lagos has begun. When completed, the seven-storey, 150-bed hospital is expected to be the largest of its kind in West Africa.

The state government is also planning a Medical Park that will include a 150-bed multi-disciplinary specialist hospital and attract medical experts as well as patients from around the world and will capture a good portion of the Nigerian medical tourism spend, which is estimated at about US$1.0b annually, in Lagos. It will create about 2,000 jobs during construction and about 1,000 jobs during operation.

The is besides as a 1,500-bed psychiatric hospital to be constructed at Ketu Ejirin, and an Infectious Diseases Research Institute in Yaba. Health Affordability and Quality: To address the debilitating challenge of healthcare affordability, we have launched Ilera Eko, our very affordable health insurance scheme. With as low as N8,400 per year (N700 per month), any Lagosian in the scheme

Meanwhile, Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Eguge has disclosed that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in Lagos State is poised to consolidate on its previous achievements in State through its 2021 Budget

The 2022 Appropriation Bill has a budget size of 1,388,285,459,990.51, comprising total revenue of 1,135,159,092,822.30 and deficit financing of 253,126,367,168.21. The current 2022 budget estimate is a bit higher than that of 2021 of N1.163 trillion.

He stated this while answering questions on a Arise TV News on Friday. According to him, the year 2022 budget projects a continuity in building on the past achievements of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in the State as the State recovers from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In his words, “The Y2022 Budget is aimed at consolidating all our efforts so far, into timely delivery of our electoral promises of a Greater Lagos to all citizens and residents of the State. Our destination is now in sight”

Mr. Eguge stated the people of Lagos State can testify to the improved standard of infrastructure delivered by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration throughout the 377 wards across the state and this is in tandem with the objective of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu which is aimed at eradicating poverty and promotion economic growth through infrastructural renewal and development

He revealed that the year 2022 is a year in which the Lagos State Government as led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will focus on completing ongoing projects while also expanding social intervention programs and support for citizens and micro and small business.

Furthermore he added that the key areas of growth which will be focused on by the Governor includes work and infrastructure, waterfront infrastructure development, agriculture, transportation, energy and mineral resources, tourism, entertainment and creative industry, commerce and industry, as well as wealth creation and employment.

He explained that the human capital development of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration is projected to take a leap in 2022, with an allocation of 21.24 per cent combined in the total expenditure to education and health.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget also explained the need for a special status for Lagos State, according to him, “Lagos is and must be recognized as the national asset that it is, which a pre-eminent melting pot of cultures in Nigeria; the economic capital of Nigeria and the most populous megacity in all Africa”

He stated that there is a need for the Federal Government to understand that every investment in Lagos State has implications for National development whether it’s the 10lane airport road leading from the international airport road or the Lekki deep seaport, together with the six lane Lekki Epe expressway or the Red and Blue rail line moving 32 million commuters from Okoko and Agbado to Marina

In his words,” these all serve to improve the commercial capacity of Nigeria and Prepare her as a trading hub for the African Continental free trade area agreement”

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