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Lawmakers explain delay of Lagos budget

By Olasunkanmi Akoni
THE seemingly lingering crisis between Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and members of the state House of Assembly may have taken its toll on the passage of the state’s budget, as the appropriation bill is yet to receive consideration and eventual approval of the lawmakers, three months after it was presented to the House.

Indications emerged yesterday that the proposal may not see the light of day soon, except fund to enable the lawmakers convene Town Hall Meetings is included in the budget proposal.

Major cause of delay

A source at the House of Assembly who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Vanguard that the major cause of the delay was the non-allocation of fund for the purpose of convening Town Hall Meeting projects being formulated by the lawmakers, which Fashola had hitherto refused to approve and be included in the proposed bill.

It was learnt that Ikuforiji had called the attention of the governor on behalf of his colleagues on the need to allocate appropriate fund for Town Hall Meetings in the 2010 budget.

Fashola, who was said not to be disposed to the idea of the lawmakers convening town hall meetings, later accepted to include the lawmakers’ demand in the bill verbally.

Town Hall Meetings

The aggrieved House members who queried the governor’s defence for not approving the fund, said the town hall meeting should be supported by the executive, especially the governor, because it would afford them (lawmakers) the opportunity to have an on-the-spot assessment of the  needs and yearnings of the people they represent.

“There is every need to be accountable to the people, because the party in Lagos is a party that believe so much in progressive democracy and practice such to the letter, in which the governor is an integral part of,” the source said.

No satisfactory accounts

Among the grouses of the lawmakers in delaying the passage of the bill, is that the executive arms, through commissioners, head of departments, had failed to give satisfactory  accounts of how the 2009 budget was implemented before the House and would not want same to happen this year, hence the need for strict scrutiny.

It was gathered that during the past administration of Governor Bola Tinubu, the governor regularly called Assembly members to meetings to deliberate on the way forward which the present administration is failing in its duties.


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