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LAGOS 2019 BUDGET AND SUSTAINABLE INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT

Tayo Ogunbiyi

 

The common accounting tool governments, companies, organisations and
several other institutions across the world use for planning and
controlling what they must do to satisfy the people,  customers and
succeed in  governance, business and other areas of human endeavours
is budgeting. Budgets provide a measure of the financial results a
company expects from its planned activities. By planning for the
future, government officials, chief executives, managers,
administrators and others in leadership positions learn to anticipate
potential problems and how to avoid them. Instead of subsequently
facing problems, they can focus their energies on exploiting
opportunities.

In a sense, budget is a form of communication between the government
and the citizens. Government budget is usually split into the
recurrent and capital expenditures. The former is meant to take care
of running the machinery of government, sundry logistics and pay the
emoluments (salaries, allowances, terminal benefits such as pension
and gratuities) of Public Servants who act as catalysts of
government’s policies and projects. The latter is to build or repair
worn-out infrastructures (access roads, rails, water ways, provision
of pipe-borne water, school buildings, hospitals, transport
facilities).

With the growing pressures for enhanced service delivery in Nigeria
and the challenges of budgetary crises and fiscal shocks, the need for
improved budget processes and innovative financial management
techniques is especially critical more than ever before. The
increasing significance of budgets in economy has obliged utilizing
new techniques in managing it.

It also calls for transparency and
clarity of vision on the part of political leadership.
In Lagos State, especially in the past three years, prioritization of
developmental needs and earmarking resources commensurate with the
importance of each sector has been the compelling factors in budgetary
estimates in Lagos State.

Following this tradition, Lagos State
Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, recently presented the 2019
Appropriation Bill of N852.317 billion to the State House of Assembly.
The budget was N193.683 billion less than the 2018 budget of N1.04
Trillion. The budget includes a deficit financing of N77.086bn which
is expected to be sourced from internal loans and other sources.
The proposed budget has Recurrent Expenditure at N389.560 billion
while the Capital Expenditure was N462.757 billion, with Capital
expenditure representing 54 per cent and recurrent at 46 per cent. The
concentration of the budget on capital project was targeted at
completion of major infrastructure projects and smooth transition to
the next administration. The 2019 Budget is, thus, projected to
strengthen on the economic gains made so far by capitalizing on
realistic, budget friendly programmes and projects. The projected
total revenue for Year 2019 is N775.231billion, of which
N606.291billion is expected to be generated internally,
N168.940billion is expected from Federal Transfers, while a total of
N77.086 billion will be sourced through deficit financing within
medium term expenditure framework.
As in previous years, the 2019 Budget, Economic Affairs dominates the
sectoral allocation of the proposed budget. This is due to our
continued focus on the completion of major on-going projects such as:
Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road; Agege Pen Cinema
Flyover; Phase II of Aradagun-Iworo -Epeme Road, Oshodi Interchange
Terminal; completion of JK Randle Complex, Onikan Stadium; Imota Rice
Mill; Renovation/Furnishing of Lagos Revenue House, amongst others in
order to meet their specified deliverable outcomes without any bias or
prejudice to others.
It is being projected that the revenues of the state will improve this
year by consolidating on the already established public financial
management and technology-driven revenue reforms; through data
integration and use of multi-payment channels.
In 2018, the overall budget performance as at Nov. 2018 stood at 60
per cent or ₦574.206 billion with actual cumulative total revenue of
N530.192bn at 64 per cent.  From all indications, with the
availability of the required financial resources, the state government
would accomplish its objective of taking Lagos to the next level.
Over the years,  the state government has demonstrated enough capacity
to implement projects.  Ironically, however, the successes of the
state have created economic problems for her as reflected in the
number of people coming into the state to benefit from what it has to
offer. It is quite similar to the case of Nigerians travelling abroad
in quest for the proverbial greener pasture.
In order to ensure total success of subsequent budgets in the state,
the people need to be fully involved in its implementation. For
instance, they need to speak up whenever they notice any anomaly in
the implementation of projects in their localities. The projects in
their localities are theirs and are principally meant for them so they
should monitor them to ensure that money being spent is well spent.
Similarly, government needs to ensure that existing structures for
programme monitoring are supported with proper evaluation systems
especially where existing ones are weak. It is important, equally,
that evaluation provides evidence- based information that is credible,
reliable and useful, enabling the timely incorporation of findings,
recommendation and lessons learnt into decision making. Perhaps, more
significantly, all MDAs in the state need to be more creative in their
revenue generation drive by focusing on untapped areas of revenue.
In the last three years, the Lagos State Government has, no doubt,
changed the paradigm not only in budgeting but in its implementation
in the country. The state has not only effectively monitored budget
implementation; it has consistently delivered a budget performance in
excess of 60%. It has been the policy of the state government to
embark on budget review. Repeated monitoring, critical examination and
diligent application of the process have impacted positively on budget
performance in the state. The idea of budget assessment speaks volume
of the pro-activeness of the state government as it affords it a
scientific basis of measuring   its performance in a consistent manner
while putting pressure on government departments and agencies to meet
budgetary targets.
On a final note, it is important to stress that every resident of the
state has an important role to play in the full implementation of the
2019 Budget and, indeed, succeeding budgets in the state. The human
challenges that confronted the full implementation of budget are both
behavioral and attitudinal as people still refuse to comply with laws
of the state. The effect of this is increase in the cost of running
government in many ways because compulsory compliance which the people
will not accede to, leaves government spending more money on law
enforcement than it probably would have.
People driving against traffic, people not managing their refuse
properly, refusing to use the PSP and patronizing cart pushers who are
not registered to operate, people selling along the road and so many
other unwholesome behaviours are all parts of the human factors
working against the budget. So, as the state government embarks on the
implementation of the 2019 Budget, there is a need for all residents
of the state to embrace attitudinal change that would enhance
accelerated growth and development.

Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja

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