Lagos State 2012 Budget Records 75 Percent Half Year Performance
• "For me, there will be no let until we get to the promised land", says Fashola
Jul 11, 2012 - The Lagos State Government continued its upward trend in budget performance as it recorded a second quarter budget performance of 84 percent this year, a performance which represents an increase of 19 percent over the first quarter.
The 2012 Budget of N485.292 billion had earlier recorded 65 percent performance in the first quarter which, in itself, represented a 13 percent increase in performance over the first quarter performance of 52 percent for the 2011 budget. When taken together with the first quarter performance, however, the two figures translate to a cumulative performance of 75 percent.
Fielding questions from Government House Correspondents after the Second Quarter Budget Review held earlier in the day at the Lagos House, Alausa, the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) said whatever result that emanated from the budget review must be viewed in the context of the global economic trend which, according to him, is taking a turn for the worst.
Governor Fashola, who maintained that the aim was still to reach a 90 percent budget performance, attributed the feat which, according to him, was achieved in spite of the grave local and global economic challenges, "to the hard work that the Public officers of this State are delivering on day-to-day basis".
"It is not where we want to be. We want to be at 90 percent performance. But when you contextualize it in the environment in which we are working, you cannot but salute the efforts of the Public Officers of this State", the Governor said adding that it was not just budget performance on paper but also in actual life performance.
Citing economic challenges being encountered by such economic super-powers like Britain, United States of America and Greece, Governor Fashola declared, "We are part of a global family. Nigeria is only one of the countries of the world and Lagos is a subset; and if you see what is going on around the world today, then you will understand the economic environment in which we have to work".
The Governor, who said he had been monitoring the American Economy lately, pointed out that the American Government is reducing lecture hours in schools because it could no longer pay teachers' salaries adding citing a particular case where a truck driver's salary was reduced from $19 an hour to $9 an hour.
"The alternative is to lay off workers. And that is what is going on around the world. Crime in Chicago is at its all time high of 48 percent with Fridays and Saturdays the worst days to go out. The same thing is happening in Britain. Greece is virtually comatose and it is in that economy that we work", the Governor said.
Referring to our local economy, Governor Fashola expressed dismay that loans taken by the Government four years ago at 10 percent, are now being serviced at 15 percent, adding, "It is happening even in the National Economy itself; the Minister of Finance is there advising all of us that it is time for belt tightening. Funds are few and far between. Majority of what we do here are dollar- denominated. Materials we use to fix roads, to build houses, are imported. We used to buy dollar for N118 when I was elected governor. It is N162 – N163 today".
"So even if you have increasing revenue, which is not the case in substantial form, look at the erosion in interest rate, in exchange rate and then inflation. It is in that context that you can now look at the results that we are quoting in our budget review", the Governor said.
Vowing not to let go until the 90 percent budget performance is achieved, Governor Fashola declared, "If we don't give up, if we don't wallow in self pity, if we allow peace to reign, if we love ourselves, if we respect and tolerate one another, there is too much to be done and too much to be gained. That is the only assurance I give to Lagosians. For me, there will be no let until we get to the Promised Land".
Earlier, while addressing Government House Correspondents immediately after the Budget Review Meeting, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, noted that the performance represented an upward trend adding that what was lost in the first quarter would be regained before the end of the year.
"Clearly, we are moving forward, the trend is upward and whatever we lost in the first quarter, we are catching up in the second quarter", the Commissioner said adding that in terms of revenue performing at 85 percent, the Government would continue to make the efforts that is required to sustain the tempo of performance.
Akabueze, who also disclosed that the Capital Expenditure performance is rising at two percent, said as Government intensifies efforts to complete on-going projects during the remaining part of the year, that performance would also continue to improve.
"So, over all, it is an improving trend in our budget performance despite the challenging times. We have resolved to continue as earlier said", Nwabueze said pointing out, however, that the singular most important limiting factor was revenue.
Enjoining the media to assist the Government in the effort to persuade taxpayers in the State to voluntarily pay their taxes, the Commissioner said, "If we get revenue, we know what to do. We have the programme; we have the capacity to deliver them. So, we will continue to put focus on that". The Commissioner added that the other area of focus was to aspire to make sure that all on-going projects were completed before the end of the budget year.