Lagos – Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Monday presented a 2015 budget proposal of N489.69 billion to the state house of assembly for consideration.
The amount was the same as that of 2014.
The breakdown shows that education got N82.11 billion or 16.6 per cent as against N77.42 billion or 15. 81 per cent recorded in 2014.
Environmental protection got a vote of N34.95 billion or 7.1 per cent instead of N39.72 billion or 8.11 per cent it was allocated in 2014.
Recreation, culture and religion got N3.12 billion or 0.6 per cent as against N3.48 billion or 0.71 per cent in 2014.
Housing and community amenities got N49.03 billion or 10 per cent as against N50.54 billion or 10.32 per cent in 2014, while health was allocated N44.62 billion or 9.1 per cent instead of N37.81 billion or 7.72 per cent it was voted in 2014.
Public order and safety got N15.55 billion or 3.2 per cent instead of N17.98 billion or 3.67 per cent it got in 2014, while social protection recorded N1.59 billion or 0.3 per cent as against N2.47 billion or 0.50 per cent in 2014.
Fashola said that the budget size was retained in order to keep zero deficits for the incoming government.
Fashola will be leaving office in May 2015 after completing two terms.
“We have retained the same budget size of 2014 to keep zero deficits.
“This will give the administration the room to start up very quickly,’’ he said.
He said that the 2015 budget would focus on payment of contractors’ liabilities to enable the government to complete as many projects as possible before handing over to the next administration.
“For example, out of the 400 roads that we promised, we have completed over 190 in the last three years, with 210 at various advanced stages.
“The on-set of dry weather provides the opportunity to complete all of them,” he said.
Fashola said that the government had started compiling a list of another 400 roads that would be handed over to the next administration for consideration, adoption and implementation.
He said that this would help to accelerate reconstruction of inner city roads.
The governor said that the highlights of the budget would be settlement of outstanding pension liabilities.
“Without consultation with the states, the Federal Government has reviewed pensioners’ entitlements upwards by 142 per cent without a corresponding 142 per cent upward review of states’ revenues.
“Our government’s compassion for these pensioners has weighed more heavily on our minds than the legal misfeasance of the Federal Government.
“Our government now budgets for the 142 per cent arrears in addition to 12 per cent and six per cent recent reviews.
“This is the least that we think these public servants deserve.
“Apart from this, our contributory pensions have been largely up-to-date except for a few parastatals for which we are also making provisions.
“We want to substantially reduce pension difficulties in Lagos before the next administration comes in; even if we cannot totally solve them, we intend to leave behind a sustainable plan for their final resolution,” Fashola said.
Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the Speaker of the assembly, said that when passed into law, the 2015 Budget Bill would receive strong and consistent fiscal management.
Ikuforiji noted that Nigeria was experiencing a fall in oil price.
“As legislatures, we recognise that some economic externalities greatly affect socio-economic growth and are sharp enough to influence budget re-prioritisation,” he said.