Governor Sanwo-Olu’s invitation to caricature artist sparks reactions

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Ebunoluwa Sessou

GOVERNOR Bababjide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, yesterday, presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill of over N1.388 trillion before members of the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

The current 2022 budget estimate is a bit higher than that of 2021 of N1.163 trillion.

The 2022 Appropriation Bill, tagged: ‘Consolidation’, has a budget size of  1,388,285,459,990.51, comprising total revenue of 1,135,159,092,822.30 and deficit financing of  253,126,367,168.21.

The budget size showed: A recurrent expenditure of  564,934,331,886.41 (41 per cent) and capital expenditure of  823,351,128,104.10 (59 per cent). 

The deficit financing, according to the governor would be by way of a combination of external and domestic loans and bonds, which are well within the state’s fiscal sustainability parameters. 

Speaking during the budget presentation, Sanwo-Olu, who restated the need for Federal Government to grant special status for Lagos, said that the 2022 budget was to allow for consolidation of the gains recorded by the government over the years.

He said: “The Year 2022 budget projects a continuing but very gradual recovery to growth in economic activity as the global economy cautiously recovers from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. We have, therefore, approached our revenue expectations with cautious optimism. 

“Our strident clamour that Lagos State should be granted special status and complementary funding to enable it to maintain and improve the infrastructure that services the national economy, remains relevant.   

“Lagos is and must be recognized as the national asset that it is – which is a pre-eminent melting pot of cultures in Nigeria; the economic capital of Nigeria and the most populous megacity in all of Africa.    “We as a nation must realize that every investment in Lagos has implications for national development, whether it is the 10-lane airport road leading from the International airport or the Lekki deep seaport, together with the six-lane Lekki Epe expressway, or the Red and Blue rail line moving 32million commuters from Okoko and Agbado to Marina – these all serve to improve the commercial capacity of Nigeria and prepare her as a trading hub ready for the African Continental free trade area agreement.   

“The Y2022 Budget is aimed at consolidating all our efforts so far, into timely delivery of our electoral promises of a Greater Lagos to all citizens and residents of the State. Our destination is now in sight.   

“Despite experiencing one of the most challenging times in modern history in our beloved state, we have advanced in a manner that ensures that conviction of our progress is incontestable. 

“The results speak very eloquently in the various facets of our communities even in the face of numerous devastating situations, which would have been acceptable justifications for underperformance.   

“Lagosians can testify to the improved standard of infrastructure delivered by our administration throughout the 377 wards across the State, which aligns with the State’s mission to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth through infrastructural renewal and development.   

“But we cannot afford to rest on our oars. We are therefore using this opportunity to again announce our commitment to delivering the Lagos of our dreams: Africa’s model megacity, a global economic and financial hub that is safe, secure, and productive. 

“2022 is a year in which we will focus obsessively on completing ongoing projects, while also expanding our social intervention programs and support for citizens, and micro and small businesses.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: UK based Nigerians laud Sanwo-Olu’s uprightness on panel report

“We have clearly articulated our vision in tackling governance in the State through the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda and have commenced the state’s 30 years’ development plan 2021-2051 that will update and replace our previous plan, which was for 2012-2025.

“We will continue to explore Public-Private Partnership strategies in the provision of infrastructure and social services, and the conversion of our challenges to opportunities within the context of scarce financial resources.

“There lies ahead of us even more challenging roads that we must walk together if we must achieve the Lagos of our dreams. I will always remain committed to Lagosians and the Lagos Project, leading from the front, communicating, welcoming, receiving counsel, and taking decisive action.   

“I will strive to deliver on your hopes and aspirations, never letting you down, and I hope that every time I look behind me, I will find you there because you are the ones who give basis and validity to whatever servant-leadership I am opportuned to offer to this Center of Excellence that we call home.”

Lagosians should wait for EndSARS White Paper —Speaker

In his remarks, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa urged Sanwo-Olu to work more on policies to bring more dividends of democracy to the people of the State.

Obasa, who commended the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry, urged residents not to stoke controversies while they await the White Paper on the EndSARS panel report as expected.

He said: “Our policies must be channelled towards fighting poverty in our society and empowering our people, particularly those below the poverty line. 

“Despite the numerous infrastructural developments going on in the state, the impact is not yet fully getting to all and sundry as it should be. 

“It is a known fact that Lagos State has the highest foreign debt profile. Of course, this loan has been the secret behind most of the infrastructural developments we all see all over the state. 

“Nevertheless, I will advise the Executive to focus more on intense projects that will be geared towards alleviating poverty in our society with most of these loans.

“While we await the White Paper of the END SARS Panel report, people should remain calm and not rush to judgment. You can rest assured that justice will surely be served based on the outcome of the report.”

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