*Earmarks 63% for capital expenditure; 37% for recurrent; infrastructure, education, health sectors get lion’s share
By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, of Lagos State yesterday presented the 2017 budget proposal of N813 billion to the House of Assembly, assuring that the budget will be judiciously implemented to continue the massive infrastructural renewal and the enhancement of Lagos as one of the foremost tourism and investment destinations in Africa.
The governor, who christened the budget as “The Golden Jubilee Budget” as it coincides with the State’s 50th Anniversary, said it would focus on physical infrastructure, while social sectors especially health, education, youth and social development will be given adequate attention.
Giving the key components of budget, Governor Ambode said recurrent expenditure will gulp N300.535 billion while N512.464 billion will be dedicated to capital expenditure, representing a Capital/Recurrent ratio of 63 percent to 37 percent.
According to the Governor, road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance will be key focuses of the budget, with efforts be geared towards roads that will open up the hinterlands, improve connectivity in the State and reduce travel time.
He listed some of the road projects to include Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road from Oshodi, Agric-Isawo-Owotu-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Igbe-Igbogbo Phase II- Bola Tinubu Way in Ikorodu, Ijegun Imore Phase II Amuwo in Ojo axis, Oke-Oso-Araga-Poka in Epe, Epe-Poka-Mojoda in the Epe axis and the completion of the Abule-Egba, Ajah and Pen Cinema flyovers.
The governor also said that within the course of the budget implementation, his administration will engage in Public Private Partnership (PPP) to execute some road projects including Oke Oso-Itoikin dualisation Project in the Epe axis, Okokomaiko-Seme Road Project in Badagry axis and Ikorodu-Agbowa-Itoikin-Ijebu Ode Road Project in Ikorodu axis, just as he disclosed that the Phase II of the 114 Local Government Roads project as well as the construction of the Fourth Mainland Bridge will also kick off in 2017.
“In the course of the 2017 Financial Year, we shall carry out fundamental reforms on all our modes of transportation – Roads, Water and the Walkways. In this wise, a Public Transport Infrastructure Bond will be issued in the course of the year.
“The State Government will embark on the Urbanisation of the Marina axis, Waterways Channelization, establishment of more Parks and Gardens as well as the Community Sports Centres and Stadiums in different locations across the State.
“We will fully implement the Medical Health Insurance Scheme and deploy e-health/ e-insurance Health Service solutions; and complete the on-going upgrading and extension work in the State General Hospitals and Ayinke House in Ikeja. Work will commence on our Medical Park in the 2017 fiscal year,” Ambode said.
On the revenue expected from federal allocation, the Governor said a conservative approach will be adopted owing to the falling oil prices, which according to him, was about $41.98 per barrel at the time of finalising the budget.
He however expressed optimism that the state’s federal allocation will increase through the 13 percent derivation from Oil & Gas in 2017.
Receiving the budget, Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, commended the governor for keeping faith with the 2016 budget in the area of implementation, adding that Lagos has witnessed a quantum leap in the last one year.
Obasa, while assuring the governor that members of the House will give the 2017 fiscal document due diligence for the benefit of Lagosians, called on the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to furnish the House with all the necessary documents to enable it fast-track the budget approval process.
The Lagos Speaker also seized the occasion to call on the Senate to reconsider the Special Status Bill for Lagos State, saying there was no better time to accord the state such recognition.
Dignitaries present at the event include former speakers of the House of Assembly including party chieftains, members of the State Executive Council, traditional rulers, religious leaders, among others.
Giving a sectoral breakdown of the Budget Estimates, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade said the governor earmarked N205.85 billion for General Public Services representing 25.32 percent of the budget, N36.43 billion to Public Order and Safety, representing 4.48 percent, while Economic Affairs received a lion share of N295.84billion representing 36.39 percent.
In other sectors, Ashade told newsmen that Environment got 56.31 billion, representing 6.93 percent, Health – 57.29 billion representing 7.05 percent, while Education got N92.4 billion representing 11.37 percent of the budget.
The Commissioner said the estimates will be funded from a total revenue of N642.849 billion while the balance of N170.150 billion will be funded through a N100 billion Bond Issuance program and a combination of internal and external loans.