Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is set to sign the Lagos State 2019 budget worth N873.5bn, that his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode was unable to sign before leaving the office.
The budget proposal of N852bn was submitted to the Assembly on February 5, 2019 by former governor Ambode but N21bn was added to the budget by the lawmakers.
Ambode was threatened with impeachment for delaying the submission of the budget proposal.
However, after submitting the budget, the House deliberated on it and finally passed it on April 30, 2019.
Sources within the state government told our correspondent that the Assembly held unto it for four weeks and submitted it to Ambode on the eve of his exit.
A source said, “The governor submitted a budget of N852bn based on the revenue projections of the state and federal allocation. However, the lawmakers padded the budget by N21bn and held unto it, knowing that Ambode, who is an accountant and permanent secretary, would not sign it without scrutiny.
They waited until May 27, which was the eve of Ambode’s departure, to submit the budget. Of course, there was no way he would have been able to scrutinise the budget within such a short period and sign it in 24 hours.
The lawmakers made sure they increased the funds allocated for constituency projects and their own budget.”
Attempts to get the budget proved abortive as a Freedom of Information request sent to the Assembly were ignored.
Our correspondent, who visited the office of the Clerk of the Assembly, was asked to return twice.
Ambode had presented a total budget of N852.3bn to the house, explaining that there was a reduction in the projected revenue of the state, which affected the implementation of the 2018 budget estimates.
The budget presented by Ambode had ₦389.6bn as recurrent expenditure, while capital expenditure was put at ₦462.8bn, which represented capital/recurrent ratio of 54:46.
Ambode further said the projected total revenue for 2019 is ₦775.2bn, of which ₦606.3bn is expected to be generated internally and ₦168.9bn is expected from federal transfers, while a total of ₦77.1bn will be sourced through deficit financing within the medium-term expenditure framework.
However, the lawmakers announced the passage of the budget, saying that the new budget stands at N873.5bn which was N21.2bn more than what was earlier presented.
Sanwo-Olu’s deputy Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, confirmed to our correspondent on the telephone that the budget would be signed on Monday.
Akosile, however, allayed fears of budget padding, adding that the state government would ensure transparency and accountability.
The governor’s spokesman said, The budget will be signed on Monday. The people of Lagos are desperate to get to the next level and this budget will cater to their needs. We don’t know anything about budget padding because we just got into office.
A budget is a plan for spending. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all the money will be released.”
The Spokesperson for the Assembly, Mrs. Funmilayo Tejuosho, did not respond to calls.