Lagos budget preparation methodology with 2024 in View
Ope George, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget
Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos City is regarded as one of the top-ranking wealthiest cities in Africa, precisely fourth in the continent and the 5th largest economy with a population growth rate of 2.55 percent. It is only expected that its government would do much more to sustain the pedestal and employ means to further the growth and development of the metropolis, particularly putting the best foot forward to the well-being of the citizens.
Determined to take that status to greater prosperity, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration with the development agenda: T.H.E.M.E.S+ (introducing the Plus on re-election to office represents Youth engagement, Gender Equality and Social inclusion), is aimed strategically and systematically to deliver policies and programmes to better the well-being of residents and improving the economy. More so, with the Governor’s electoral assurance to devise an ‘All-inclusive Governance’ style, the government of Lagos State annually holds parley with the people of the state to have their inputs and demands in the plans of the government for wider and effective reach of democratic gains.
Such was a recent week-long consultation fortnight ago, tagged ‘Lagos State Year 2024 Budget Consultative Forum’ a part of the budget preparation process, held in the five divisions of the State; Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, condensed as I.B.I.L.E to get views, contributions, suggestions and promote citizens’ participation through representations by the major players from different domains of the state.
The consultation forum afforded the state government the opportunity to present key highlights of half-year budget performance; Year 2024 Economic outlook: Nigeria and Lagos State; Focus areas for the rest of the year; Priority areas for Year 2024 budget; conclusion, completed and ongoing projects across the state.
At the Ikeja division parley held at the Multipurpose Hall of Radio Lagos in Agidingbi, the Commissioner and Chief Economic Manager of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Mosopefoluwa George, who was the host, revealed that the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as at mid-year had reached almost 400 billion naira and that it is expected to climax to One trillion naira by year-end. He explained that the IGR will be part of the funding for the year 2024 budget as well as other funding mechanisms such as Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and nice concession arrangement.
According to him, “We have to be very creative with our funding and ensure that our funding is a mix of both the IGR and also other funding mechanism. We are looking at PPP, nice concession funding at the right rate. We are going in the right direction, in that trajectory and hopefully, we can continue to build on that and be able to attract the right investment and right set of funding to sort our budget and our projects.
“We have an IGR of over 1.1trillion, which was projected. As of June, I believe we have hit somewhat close to 400 billion. We are looking to ramp up and round that up and hopefully, before the end of the year to have hit our target. As I said with the IGR, it’s the more we provide for our citizens and it’s sort of a multiplier effect for the economy to look better. Then we will be able to get more funding and will be able to get more into the economy to help us build.
Mr George, averring the importance of consulting with the people for the budget preparation said it enhances the government to understand which and what area of need is required in different areas for optimal delivery of projects and programmes that would affect their (residents) well-being and improve the economy.
“One of the things we are doing and trying to do better is consult to let the people know that this is what we are planning to do with their money so to speak. The more we go out the more we hear from them, the more we understand what they want. Then we can give them that service and in that way, they feel a lot better to remit whatever taxes or levies they have to give.
“In consultation and discussions as this, we hear from the people what they want, we take it back, look at it, mark it with what we have had, what we’ve budgeted, and see if we need to tweak it for next year to know how we will concentrate our effort more on a specific area and be well equipped to do that,” he said.
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Guaranteeing that Lagos fosters its status among the emerging economy, the state government provided 27.3 percent of the Year 2023 budget to cater for infrastructural renewal and development, as part of its effort to modernize the city and support its growing population. The State has launched several initiatives and projects to advance development of the metropolis. Furnishing a robust, healthy, and growing economy with adequate jobs and strategic investments to sustain growth with outlay in food Security through Cattle Feedlot Project, Fish Processing hubs etc. Provision of Rescue and Emergency Operation Equipment; providing affordable and world-class Education, Healthcare, and Social Services; affordable Homes, social Intervention, and Humanitarian Programs.
The 2023 budget percentage share for infrastructural renewal and development had warranted the state government to further infrastructure that meets the needs of a 21st Century with focus on Transportation, Education, Health, Technology, Food Processing and Sport. Also, the completion of the first phase of the Blue Line Rail and continuous work on the Red Line Rail which is at 95-96 percent completion stage; providing a supportive and enabling environment that creates opportunities for all Lagosian, and strengthening of intelligence gathering capacity capabilities.
Addressing the media at the Lagos Island division parley, held at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Center, the Commissioner discussed the 2024 fiscal year to pay more attention to youth engagement, gender equality and social protection asserted in the development agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, adding that the government would still make sure to keep up with the infrastructural projects and development of the state.
“What we are adding to the THEMES which we all know, is to ensure that a lot more social equality, gender equality, Youth participation is there so social protection is very key. And then we don’t lose focus of all what we are still doing, so we are ensuring that we keep up to date with the infrastructural project and our development. But ensuring that we can also add this aspect of the THEMES+ to our plan, to ensure that no one is left behind and we can have an encompassing administration that takes everyone into consideration and then, we can still keep with our development goals.”
As part of the groups at the event, President of the Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), Alhaji Nurudeen Buhari said the government should look inward to engaging its members in the contract of projects as they have been duly trained by the government, stressing that it would only support the informal sector and strengthened the economy.
The youth representatives at the event appealed to the state government to liaise with the local government in finding lasting solutions to drug addiction which has turned into a plague in the lives of the young ones across the state and the nation at large, alerting the forum that Youth centres and offices at local government levels were not functioning as it should.
The Legal Adviser to the Youth Council, Lagos State, Barrister Rofiat Akinyemi, appreciated the state government for the opportunity given to the young ones to be part of the budget preparation process, while requesting that more spots be given to women and youth in the appointments of political offices to encourage gender equality.
As the train of consultation terminates in the Badagry division, held at the Makanjuola Auditorium at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo Campus, three students of the institution namely: Awodiran Iyiola, Oyinlade Daniel and Obianwuna Charles, all in 200 level Computer Science Department, seized the opportunity of the forum to make a clarion call to the state government to see to the review of their academic curriculum, specifically requesting the upscale of Information Technology (IT) programs and the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) studies in order to meet up with their mates nationally and internationally.
The consultations also held in the Ikorodu division and the Ikorodu Town Hall saw the Ayangburen, Oba Kabiru Shotobi formally handing over the division’s requests in document to the Commissioner after all the deliberations in the course of the event. The train ended in Epe, hosted at the Jubilee Chalet in Epe as other traditional and community leaders, religious leaders, professionals, Trade groups, NGOs, Youth Organizations, the People Living with Disability (PLWD), and the Organised Private Sector had one or many formal presentations of requests handed over to the government.