LASG Moves To Improve Budgetary, Expenditure Techniques
Apr 8, 2008 - In its bid to adopt the best practices in resource management, the Lagos State Government plans to introduce a Medium Term Expenditure Framework Project (MTEFP), aimed at improving the budgetary and expenditure techniques of the State.
The Project, which is presently at the designing stage, is being adopted through collaboration with the World Bank and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
Disclosing this Tuesday at a Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the first one year in office of the present administration, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said the Project would further complement the Medium Term Sectoral Strategy (MTSS), another resource management and control strategy, which has already been adopted by the government and is being introduced at the moment in three pilot ministries.
The Commissioner, who named the pilot ministries as Education, Health and the Environment, added that the training of all the relevant officers who would be involved in the scheme has been concluded.
Akabueze said the State Government was currently participating in the Investment Climate/Growth Pole Project, designed to strengthen the competitiveness and productivity of business in the State while, at the same time, positioning the State Government to focus and concentrate on areas that affect business.
The Programme, being sponsored by the World Bank and DFID, according to the Commissioner, will enable the State Government focus on such business areas as access to land and development, tax administration, contract enforcement and commercial dispute resolution and business registration and licensing.
He said, in order to strengthen its taxation strategy, the State Government was already addressing the various issues raised and detailed in its priority reform and action plan matrix such as multiplicity of taxes and double taxation, lack of information on tax-payers” rights and responsibilities, review of tax and legal procedures and illegal taxation and corrupt practices by State and Local Government authorities.
Other areas being addressed, according to Akabueze, are reducing the cost of land transactions, enforcement of building and zoning regulations, improvement of the judicial system through judicial reforms at the High, Magistrate and Customary courts.
The Commissioner disclosed that the States Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (LASEEDS), the policy framework under which the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was being implemented, was currently being reviewed and evaluated.
The exercise, being done with support from the State and Local Government Programme (SLGP), was preparatory to development of LASEEDS 11, Akabueze said adding that, when completed, the exercise would help strengthen and deepen the capacity of ministries, departments and agencies to further deliver on the goals of the present administration.
On the forthcoming Lagos Economic Summit, tagged EHINGBETI SUMMIT 2008, Akabueze, who said the programme would take place in the next fortnight at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, pointed out that it has been structured in such a manner as to focus on solutions through adoption of strategies that have been tested and proved effective over time, adding that it would also provide opportunities for investors to meet with relevant officials of the State Government.
According to him, this could be perceived from the calibre of resource persons invited at the Summit including Mr. Hermando de Soto, President Institute for Liberty and Democracy Lima-Peru, an expert on international development issues, Dr. Liu Tai Ker, a celebrated expert in the area of urban development, Enrique Penalosa, a former Mayor of Bogota, Professor Pat Utomi of Nigeria and Mr. Bharat I. Singal of the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal transit system, among other prominent experts.
Fielding questions from Government House Correspondents on the State’s Pension, Akabueze, who said pension paid to the State’s Civil Servants to date amounted to N2.342 billion, explained that aside from prompt payment of pensions to retired civil servants of the State’s Civil Service, the government was also disbursing welfare packages to such retired civil servants from 70 years and above as well as the sick among them.