Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode is seeking the approval of the State House of Assembly to re-order the 2017 Budget.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ambode’s request was contained in a letter he personally signed, and which was read on the floor of the House by its Clerk, Mr Azeez Sanni, during plenary.
According to the request, a total sum of N42.028billion comprising N31.105 billion from capital expenditure and N10.922 billion from recurrent expenditure will be re-ordered if the proposal is approved by the assembly.
This is even as the House of Assembly has assured tax payers in the state that it will not compromise standards and promised to protect tax-payers’ interests in the ongoing review of the Auditor General’s report.
The governor said that the re-ordering would help the state government to upscale the road construction and rehabilitation going on across the state to improve connectivity.
Ambode also said that part of the re-ordering would be spent on purchasing 700 buses in line with the state transportation reforms.
He added that the re-ordering would also enhance the upgrading of equipment for the State Emergency Management Authority and for improved security equipment for better surveillance.
According to him, the re-ordering will, however, not affect the total budget of N813 billion passed by the House for 2017.
Ambode said in the letter that the state government had successfully achieved 64 per cent of the 2017 budget by the middle of the year, adding that the re-ordering was necessitated following a review of the priorities of the state government.
“It is now expedient to re-order the budget to address some of the critical expenditures to enhance efficient delivery of services.
“We want to provide world class infrastructure for the people of the state.
“The proposed re-ordering is expected to increase the tempo of good services and address the priorities of the state government.
“It will address main fiscal strategy and sustain expenditure profile, it will drive capital expenditure by improving the capital recurrent ratio,” the governor said.
In a related development, the House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts (State) has vowed not to compromise standards and promised to protect tax-payers’ interests in the ongoing review of the Auditor General’s report.
The committee Chairman, Hon Moshood Oshun, made the remark at the opening of the review of the Auditor General’s report on Ministries, Parastatals and Agencies (MDAs) for 2016 on Monday.
Oshun said that the House, under the leadership of the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, would not cut corners or hide under-one-finger.
“We will guard the interests of the people of Lagos State and ensure that tax payers’ money is judiciously spent. We will not compromise.
“The House will give the people the best and we will make sure that Lagos State continues to be the best.
“All hands must be on deck for the state to continue to excel. So, it is not something that can be done alone, we must all work together,’’ he said.
According to him, the committee through the help of experts, would properly scrutinise the financial reports of the auditor-general on MDAs during the annual exercise.
On what the committee has observed so far, Oshun said that it was too early to make an assessment, but that the MDAs have done well on the average.
“You know, Lagos State is above other states. We expect a certain level of perfection in the state. We have asked the MDAs some information and they have been answering us.
“The Auditor General has done her job with her team, but we need to verify the report. There is something called fair hearing; we don’t want to be prejudiced, we want to hear from everybody.
“We will ask them questions, where we need clarifications, and we will applaud them where they have done well.
“However, I can say they have done well generally. The Auditors have done a good job and they have made sure that everything we need in that report is included in it.
“I want to commend the Auditor General and her team for doing a good job, they have shown that Lagos State is better than others,’’ Oshun said.
The lawmaker said that all the MDAs had full budgets, adding that the committee wanted to make sure that the budgets were followed to the letter.
According to him, the exercise is to make sure that those things that should be done are done properly, in accordance with financial rules.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee had taken the report of the state Number Plates Production Authority and the Deputy Governor’s Office.
The committee, however, directed the officials to go back to perfect their papers, which he said did not tally with the Auditors’ reports.