Lagos Shops For N31 Billion From World Bank

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The Lagos State Government is on the verge of accessing a N31.4 billion ($200 million) World Bank intervention loan for budget planning and investment.

Commissioner for Finance, Adetokunbo Abiru disclosed this on Wednesday at a ministerial news conference in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, saying that the government had adopted the Development Policy Operation, DPO, which is a direct budget support to be granted by the World Bank for three consecutive years in the sum of $200 million annually.

“This intervention fund is provided to assist government policies in the key areas of budget planning, budget execution, investment climate improvement and revenue generation enhancement.

“In essence, the main advantage of the DPO is that the fund is based directly on budget support rather than specific projects; another indication of the level of confidence reposed in the state government by the multilateral agencies,” he said.

Abiru stated that the World Bank DPO loan comes at concessional term and very apt for developmental projects, saying that the interest rate was about one percent and tenor of 40 years.

“Having satisfied all the conditions attached the drawdown of this type of funds, the first tranche of the DPO was accessed late last year. Based on this singular achievement, the discussions on the second DPO have also commenced and hopefully, this would be accessed before the end of the year,” he stated.

On Land Use Charge, LUC, the commissioner disclosed that N3.8 billion was generated in the last one year, saying that during the last one year, the focus shifted from property enumeration to comprehensive billing of all enumerated properties in order to increase the level of compliance and expected revenue from LUC.

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He said out of the 637,569 properties enumerated, 583,458 records were billed, which represented 91 percent properties of enumerated properties.

“The outstanding balance of 26,819 billable records, which mainly are raw records yet to be processed and exempted properties will be processed through enforcement, which will include prosecution for non-compliance if necessary. Besides, a total of 560,000 demand notices were delivered across the 20 Local Governments,” he said.

He added that many of the teething problems hitherto encountered on this scheme had since been tackled and that many people now pay the LUC voluntarily.

Abiru stated that the avenue for lodging complaints on any form of disagreement on charges made on any person was however still open, saying that government officers would attend to such complaints.

“In furtherance of alleviating the inconveniences encountered by property owners, alternative means of lodging complaints and transacting other land use charge related businesses are being explored to reduce the number of people visiting that office on a daily basis,” he stated.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga