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2021 Appropriation Bill scales second reading in Lagos Assembly

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2021 Appropriation Bill scales second reading in Lagos Assembly

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The 2021 appropriation bill scaled the second reading after the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr Olalekan Onafeko, read it during plenary session in Lagos on Tuesday.

Mr Gbolahan Yishawu, Chairman House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, said his committee would ensure an analytical scanning of the budget before its passage.

Yishawu who was quick to review the past appropriations and level of implementations, said this was owing to how realistic and attainable the 2021 budget seemed.

He said: “All seem not to be right with the projection of the 2021 estimate as the expected revenues is most likely unattainable.

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“This is because of the recent developments of COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARS protest which have left behind sad tales of economic woes for the state and the country at large.

Yishawu noted also that the counterpart funding arrangement on ground was next to zero, adding that it was a development which inhibits access to likely grants.

He also reviewed the sectoral allotments, stating his worries over the vote heads allotted to a number of sectors vis a vis the external and internal loans of the state as the state debt profile hits a trillion naira.

The Assemblyman said revenue generating agencies needed more vote heads and the House needed to look at the budget critically to ensure revenues were used conscientiously.

According to him, we may also have to look at outsourcing our collections and increase coverage.

Also, Mr Rotimi Olowo, Chairman House Committee on Finance, hailed Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the focus of the budget on youths empowerment through internship schemes, vocational training and grants to grow entrepreneurs.

Olowo, however, berated the budget for being over ambitious in terms of revenue projections as a larger percentage of likely tax payers, especially the major companies, might default owing to current realities.

He also noted that attention might be required on Oko Baba resettlement, Mile 12 Market relocation to Imota and Computer Village relocation to Katangowa soon.

He cautioned the house to use empirical facts to substantiate the budget provisions to avert reordering later in the year, adding that the state needed a budget size that was implementable.

Commenting, Tobun Abiodun, Chairman House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, noted that revenue drives the budget and as such adequate provisions had not been made in the revenue projections.

Abiodun added that prioritised projects of the government might likely get the larger chunk leaving other sectors in limbo.

According to him, we should look at a more realistic budget, where revenues will carry the vote heads.

Also, Oluyinka Ogundimu, the Chairman House Committee on Education, registered his worries on the finance gaps and revenue expectations.

Ogundimu noted that the COVID-19 effect was still with the state and to break even would be very difficult given the arson done on public assets across the state.

Speaking, Mr Jimoh Wahab noted that budgetary provisions were basically fiscal proposals and projections for the year.

Wahab, however, said that looking at the omnibus, the vote heads for works was really not sufficient for some abandoned projects in the state.

He noted that since the World Bank was not coming back to help on some important projects, government needed to do more to salvage the situation.

The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, however, submitted that budgets being a fiscal proposal should not be frivolous.

“Rather it should be couched in such a realistic manner.

“I want to caution the committee not to jump to conclusions on the revenue projection until their engagement with the MDAs.

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“The state recently grapples with attendant effects of inflation, unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and EndSARS protest

“Therefore, the budget must have a human face to put smiles on the faces of victims whose means of livelihood were grossly affected,” he said.

The speaker said the committee should look at the areas where the House could be of help considering the exchange rate that was not friendly.

Obasa then committed the 2021 budget to the Joint Committees of the House on Appropriation and Finance for thorough review to report back in six weeks.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday presented a budget of N1.16 trillion to the state House of Assembly for approval for the 2021 fiscal year.

The 2021 budget estimates titled: “Budget of Rekindled Hope,” is higher than the 2020 budget after it was reduced to N920.5 billion due to challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanwo-Olu said the 2021 budget has a total revenue of N962.53 billion and a total Internally Generated Revenue of N795.74 billion.

He explained that the budget ..has a Capital Expenditure of N703.27 billion and a Recurrent Expenditure of N451.75 billion.

The governor assured that the 2021 budget would focus on youth employment, security, youth engagement, and social work, among others.

NAN

Vanguard News Nigeria

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