The Lagos State House of Assembly has committed the Year 2021 budget to the Joint Committee of the House on Appropriation and Finance,for thorough scrutiny of Ministries, Departments and Agencies vote heads to engender a realistic estimate for the development of state.
This decision was sequel to the second reading of the Appropriation Bill,2021 by the Acting Clerk Bar. Olalekan Onafeko and an analytical scanning of the budget estimate by Hon. Yishawu Gbolahan Eti Osa 2 constituency,the Chairman house standing committee on Budget and Economic Planning.
Yishawu was quick to review the past appropriations and level of implementations, owing to which he raised posers as to how realistic and attainable the 2021 budget seems.
According to him all seem not to be right with the projections as the expected revenues is most likely unattainable given the recent developments of COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSars protest which left behind sad tales of economic woes for the state and the country at large.
He noted also that the counterpart funding arrangement on ground is next to zero, a development which inhibits access to likely grants.
The lawmaker also turned a cursory look on the sectoral allotments, stating his worries over the vote heads alloted to a number of sectors vis a vis the external and internal loans of the state as the state debt profile hits a trillion.
” Revenue generating agencies need more vote heads and we need to look at this budget critically to ensure revenues are used conscientiously. We may also have to look at outsourcing our collections and increase coverage.” Said Yishawu.
Hon. Rotimi Olowo representing Somolu Constituency 1, who chairs the Finance Committee of the house commended the focus of the budget on youths empowerment through internship schemes,vocational training and grants to grow entrepreneurs.
He however, berates the budget for being over ambitious in terms of revenue projections as a larger percentage of likely tax payers, especially the major companies may default owing to current realities.
He also noted that attention may be required on Oko Baba resettlement, Mile 12 Market relocation to Imota and Computer Village relocation to Katangowa soon.
He cautioned the house to use empirical facts to substantiate the budget provisions to avert reordering later in the year, “we need a budget size that is implementable”. Olowo counseled.
Hon Tobun Abiodun Epe 1 constituency and Chairman house committee on Works and Infrastructure, noted that revenue drives the budget and as such adequate provisions has not been made in the revenue projections.
He added that priority projects of the government may likely get the larger chunk leaving other sectors in limbo. “We should look at a more realistic budget, where revenues will carry the vote heads.
Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu, representing Agege constituency II who doubles as the Chairman House Committee on Education in his own review of the merits and demerits of the budget registered his worries on the finance gaps and revenue expectations.
Ogundimu noted that the COVID-19 effect is still with us and to break even will be very difficult given the arsons done on public assets across the state.
Hon Jimoh Wahab representing Apapa II constituency,in his contribution noted that budgetary provisions are basically fiscal proposals and projections for the year but that looking at the omnibus, the vote heads for works is really not sufficient for some abandoned projects.
He noted that since the World Bank is not coming back to help on some important projects, government need do more to salvage the situation.
The Speaker Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa however, submitted that budgets being a fiscal proposal should not be frivolous.
Rather it should be couched in such a realistic manner. He also cautioned the house not to jump to conclusions on the revenue projection until their engagement with the MDAs.
According to him the state grapples with attendant effects of inflation, unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and EndSars protest, so the budget must have a human face to put smiles on the faces of victims whose means of livelihood were grossly affected.
He hinted that this will affect the size of revenue generation.
” The committee should look at the areas where we could be of help considering the exchange rate that is not friendly”.
Obasa then committed the 2021 budget to the Joint Committee of the House on Appropriation and Finance for thorough review to report back in six weeks.
It will be recalled that the Y2021 budget estimate, which was laid before the house by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu lastweek Tuesday, projects N 451,750,101,951 from the consolidated Revenue Fund for Recurrent Expenditure and N703,272,311,055 from Development Revenue Fund for Capital Expenditure.
This sums up to a Budget size of N1,155,022,413,006 for the year ending 31st December 2021.
The house was earlier informed by its Majority Leader Hon. Sanai Agunbiade about the death of its former Clerk between 1998-2002, Chief Lamidi Afolabi Gbadamosi who hails from Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
The House adjourns sitting till Thursday 19th of November.
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