11th December, 2015
Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts for State, Moshood Oshun, has disclosed that the House would be getting the 2016 budget proposal from the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, any moment from now.
Oshun made this disclosure at a three-day on-going training programme organised by the House for lawmakers and staff of the Assembly in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital adding that the House was ready for work on the budget once it is brought.
The training is, among others, majorly of ethics and business rules.
Oshun, however noted that many Nigerians do not understand the concept of budget performances. To him, the budget of any government depends on its internally generated revenue. He said there was the perception that if a government proposes a budget of N400 billion, then the money is already there to spend.
Thus, according to him, it would be impossible for any state or the Federal Government to perform beyond the income it generates within a given period in time.
The lawmaker, who represents Lagos Mainland Constituency 2 at the House, told journalists: “we need to know that the budget is a proposal. If we get N400 billion, we will spend it accordingly, if the money doesn’t come in, it would affect the budget. If the IGR does not come in, the Governor would only do what he can afford. Also, currently, the price of oil affects the budget here in Nigeria.”
He explained that the training programme came at the right time since the state now has a new governor and the Assembly has 20 new members, who have not handled budget issues for the state as a whole in the past.
He disclosed that a training on budget could hold later for the lawmakers when the budget is eventually presented.
Oshun assured that the 2016 budget of Lagos is going to be better because, according to him, the state sets the pace for others to follow.
Asked if it was right to borrow to finance a budget, he said: “there is no government that does not borrow, but the important thing there is that when you borrow, are you making good use of the money?
“You can borrow, but the people would keep a tab on you to know how the money is used. If you borrow money and it is used for a project that would last, it is okay.
“It is not good to borrow to pay salaries; if you borrow money to build a road that would last 100 years, then the money has been judiciously spent. The problem is borrowing for consumables or for salaries, but if you borrow for capital projects, I don’t have any problem with that.”
The lawmaker expressed belief that Governor Ambode would not reduce wages of workers or retrench some of them as some governors are already threatening to do due to the challenge of meeting the N18,000 minimum wage, but that staff auditing was necessary.
He commended the governor for merging ministries, when he got to office, as one good way of reducing cost of governance.
On what should be the priority of the Lagos State Government in 2016, Oshun said the state was not unmindful of the demands of the residents that include access to good health, education, roads and good things of life.
“Those are the priorities of the people, I don’t think that has changed; what we want is an improvement of the priorities. The template has been laid like I said.
“The former governor of the state has done well in every area; health, education and others. It would be an improvement on the whole thing.
“The only new thing is the issue of security and this is national. I know Governor Ambode is handling that because what the state government donated to the police recently has never been done by any state government in Nigeria in the past,” he stated.