Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday signed the 2014 Appropriation Bill of N489.69 billion into law. He said all hands must be on deck to ensure optimum implementation of the budget.
It would be recalled that the House of Assembly passed the budget last Thursday, paving the way for the governor’s assent.
Shortly before signing the Bill, Fashola expressed gratitude to the House of Assembly for shelving its recess during the Yuletide to complete work on the budget.
He said with the signing of the budget, work will commence in earnest, assuring residents that the budget would be judiciously implemented for the development of the state.
For the first time since his administration assumed power in 2007, the Lagos State is running a budget surplus, completely cutting down on borrowing.
Comprising N234.665 billion Recurrent Expenditure and N255.025 billion Capital Expenditure, the 2014 budget is 3.43 per cent lower than last year’s budget of N499.105 billion.
The breakdown of the budget showed that the state would spend N51.378 billion on Education; Heath gets N22.07billion; Works and Infrastructure N100.12billion and Environment N25.67billillion.
Others are Agriculture and Cooperatives, N23.21billion; Transportation N29.13billion; Information and Strategy, N28.73billion; Judiciary N31.28billion; Commerce and Industry N7.98billion, while Women Affairs, Poverty Alleviation N1.36billion; and House of Assembly take N11.8billion.
Speaking with newsmen after the signing of the budget into law, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze said it was aimed at fast-tracking infrastructural development in the state.
He said allocating the biggest share of N100.1bn to Works and Infrastructure was not unusual, saying it was in line with government’s commitment to address the state’s infrastructural deficit.
“Giving the biggest share to infrastructure has always been a constant feature of our budget. It is reflective of our commitments to infrastructural development renewal.
“In the future, as we work down the deficit, we will begin to see expenditure shifts more to social infrastructure. And then, we can begin to ramp up the budgetary allocation to social sectors like education, health and environment.
“But for now, we have a backlog of infrastructural deficit that must be worked down”, he said.