6th November, 2013
The 2014 Appropriation Bill, presented to the Lagos State House of Assembly by the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, scaled the second reading on Tuesday evening with members urging the House Committee on Economic Planning and Budget to ensure a thorough handling of the bill.
The bill which is for a law to authorise the issue and appropriation of N234.665 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for Recurrent Expenditure and another N255.025 billion from the Development Revenue Fund for Capital Expenditure, totalling N489.690 billion for the year ending 31 December, 2014, was presented by the Governor last Wednesday.
Prior to deliberations on the bill, it was read on the floor of the House by the Clerk, Segun Abiru.
Commencing the debate, the Chairman, House Committee on Economic Planning and Budget, Mudashiru Obasa, noted that from the presentation made by Governor Fashola , it could be deduced that the Governor has the interest of the people of the state at heart.
He said the Governor had proven that he was prepared to get the job in the state done.
He stressed that the House had the duty to ensure that the bill is thoroughly scrutinised to be sure it is achievable.
Reviewing the current year, Obasa noted that the state revenue suffered a major challenge in 2013, adding that this resulted in the budget re-ordering approved by the House months ago.
He said: “if we couldn’t meet our target in 2013 and we decide to increase it in 2014, I believe there is need for us to ask questions. We should know those things that have been put in place for us to meet the target.
“Also, I don’t see any reason why we should engage in mortgage now, though I know we are trying to assist residents of the state but are we capable of handling mortgage? Taking loans is also not a bad idea but there should be arrangements to settle the debt before the expiration of thev tenure of this administration.”
In his contribution, Gbolahan Yishawu representing Eti-Osa Constituency 2, lamented that the state had not achieved much concerning internally generated revenue.
He urged that the drive for revenue should be improved upon, but warned against unjustly increasing taxes.
On his part, the representative Shomolu Constituency 2 at the House, Rotimi Olowo, said the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service, LIRS, must ensure it improves on revenue drive since the state depends on it for much of the revenue to fund the proposed zero-deficit budget.
“Also, the completion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway should be a priority because it will be a source of revenue generation since it is going to be tolled.”
“The Committee on Budget should also look at the issue that borders on road rehabilitation,” Olowo urged.
The Whip of the House, Abdulrazaq Balogun, commended the Governor over the budget, but said that there were some important issues in the bill that should be addressed.
He also urged that ongoing projects should be given priority in the budget.
He said leaving revenue generation to the LIRS alone is unacceptable.
“There are some ministries, departments and agencies which are collecting money every year and not doing anything. These MDAs should be scrutinised and I believe this will bring more money into the government’s coffers.
“The local government system must be empowered and enhanced. Some projects should be decentralised to our local government councils and when this is done, virtually all the areas in the state will be touched,” he suggested.
Leader of the House, Ajibayo Adeyeye, raised concerns that budgets in the state had continued to perform below expectation, adding: “we should work towards meeting a 100 per cent budget performance. Even if we can’t meet it, we should be very close to it.”
The bill was later transmited by the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, to the Committee on Economic Planning and Budget after which he advised other sub committees of the House to work with the committee to achieve a positive result.