From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday, said it had achieved 106 percent performance in the second quarter implementation of its 2014 budget pegged at N489, 690 billion.
Governor Babatunde Fashola gave the figure while briefing newsmen shortly after the budget review meeting held at the Lagos House, Ikeja.
He said the second quarter result added to the performances of the preceding 86 percent performance of the first quarters, gives the state an aggregate of 86 percent budget implementation for 2014.
Fashola said, “We just conducted the review of the second quarter budget performance and the result is that between April and June, the state budget performed at 106 percent. And what that gives one if added to the 86 percent performance in the first quarter, the result will be a cumulative half year performance of 86 percent.
“In pre-election year, I think these are unprecedented results. They are consistent with the commitment that I made to the citizens of Lagos that until the last day, this government will be working to deliver service.”
Basking in the euphoria of the budget performance, the governor emphasized that the impact of that performance can be seen in some of the housing projects that were completed within the period and the roads that were completed within the period.
“Some of the roads were Yaya Abatan and others. That is the physical connection to the number that one is seeing. There is still work to do. There are still places waiting for the state government attention. There are many projects coming into completion. Many have been completed and many will be completed in the third quarter.
“In terms of revenue to the state, it has diminished over the last 14 months. What we use to have before now was N9 billion or N10 billion that is given to Lagos. But this has reduced to between N7 billion and N8 billion. Except for spikes in the last two months, the pattern over eight months before was a reduction in what we use to get. “The reality therefore is that our wage bill which is average N6.5 billion monthly. And this means that one gets this reduced allocation, and pays salaries of civil servants, one is left with about N1.5 billion. After paying subvention, the entire fund is almost exhausted. So we have been living on out IGR.”
Fashola pointed out that some of the things that the state use to do with the Federal Government allocation is now being financed by the state with its IGR, saying there is a gap that has been crystallized by recent development.
He said, “Some state, regrettably are now borrowing money. So, it was a good thing that Lagos State conceived the idea many years ago to take its destiny into its hand; to get people to contribute to the development of the state. And as I said, if it is a common wealth, then it must be build by common contribution. And that is what our taxes have done for us.
“Seventy percent of what the state has spent on governing Lagos came from a common contribution from the residents of Lagos state. People who come now to appeal to residents to desist from paying tax are the real enemy of the people.
“If people stop paying tax, the state will go cap in hand to collect N7 billion. And people are still asking for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in the state. no economy in the world has developed without payment of taxes; this is because this is what brings participation in democracy. If your money is in it, one commitment will be stronger”, he stated.