Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Tuesday rendered his account of stewardship in the maiden edition of the quarterly Town Hall Meeting, revealing that efforts geared towards stabilising the finances of the state has helped the state save about N3billion monthly.
Addressing thousands of residents, party chieftains, traditional rulers and top government officials at the Abesan Mini Stadium, Lagos, Governor Ambode said that one of his first key tasks on assumption of office was to stabilize the finances of the State.
To this end, he said his administration embarked on financial re-engineering and reviewed the Revenue and Expenditure framework of the State, saying that these efforts coupled with the realignment of Ministries, Departments and Agencies have saved the government almost N3 Billion every month.
“This has provided us with more funds to inject into capital projects and the initial funds to establish the Employment Trust Fund which we promised our youths”, he said..
Governor Ambode who reiterated his vision to make the state globally competitive in all sectors, said that his administration has mapped out long-term plans and programmes that will lead Lagos on the path to becoming a truly competitive city-state.
Highlighting some of his administration’s strides in the last four months, the Governor said that aside using the period to set up an institutional framework to pilot the programmes and policies of government, remarkable interventions and reforms have been made in the areas of road rehabilitation, health care, security, service delivery, transportation and education.
On road rehabilitation, Governor Ambode said about N1.3billion have been ploughed towards the construction and rehabilitation of over 190 roads across the state, most of which were not catered for in the 2015 budget.
He listed some of the roads to include Agege Motor Road, Herbert Macauley Way, Yaba, Murtala Mohammed Way, Isolo, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Dopemu Road, Agege, Akowonjo Road, Akowonjo, Obalende Bridge, Obalende, Isaac John Road, GRA and Apapa Road, Ebute Meta.
Other roads, he mentioned include Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Toyota-Charity Axis, Olufemi Street, Shomolu, Billy Street, Epe, Aswani Road, Isolo, Yekini Street, Shogunle, Oshodi, Isawo Road, Ikorodu, some of which he said are federal roads.
“As I speak, work has commenced on the Ago Palace Way-Okota Road. The State, in conjunction with your Local Governments and Local Council Development Area, are coming to your neighborhood soon”.
“The Ejigbo–Ikotun Road, Okota-Cele Road, Metalbox Road and Acme Road in Ikeja are currently being rehabilitated, while work has started on Brown Street, Oshodi, Ladipo Street as well as Mushin Road”.
“Till date, we have committed N1.386billion to road construction and rehabilitation. We will pump more funds into road infrastructure in this present quarter”, the Governor said.
On transportation, Governor Ambode said he was not unmindful of the challenges Lagosians face daily, noting that in recent times, the menace of trucks on the roads have caused untold hardships and loss of man hours and revenue for residents.
He however restated his commitment to ensure that residents commute within the state with less congestion on the road.
“This administration will stop at nothing to find a lasting solution to this challenge and ensure our people can move from one part of the state to another with less traffic impediment”.
He said the Apapa traffic gridlock was most worrisome as it affects other parts of the state and slowing down businesses, noting that he has met with various stakeholders to find solutions to the persistent traffic.
He said the state government has also appealed to the Federal Government to mobilize the contractor awarded the construction of Apapa Trailer Park and road networks to immediately return to site.
He however appealed to tanker drivers and other road users to comply with the existing law, warning that the Traffic Law is still in force and would be applied on any offender.
Speaking on interventions in the education sector, Governor Ambode said his administration has identified areas needing quick interventions, just as he assured that the challenges in the sector will be addressed accordingly.
He said that in the first quarter, the inauguration of Governing Councils for tertiary institutions, ongoing recruitment of 1300 primary school teachers, procurement of desk and chairs are part of the solutions towards revamping the sector.
Governor Ambode also used the occasion to assure residents of his administration’s commitment to secure lives and properties in the state, revealing that an integrated Security and Emergency control platform have been established, all of which are aimed at strengthening the security apparatus in the state.
He listed other strides in the first quarter to include the approval of N11billion for the payment of arrears of Pensions owed to pensioners since 2010 and the purchase of 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances, 26 Transport Ambulances which have been deployed across the General Hospitals in the state.
Projecting into the second quarter, Governor Ambode promised to plough more resources to sectors needing attention, however enjoining residents of the state to support and cooperate with the government by paying their taxes willingly.
“If you do your bit, we can achieve all our set goals. The task ahead is enormous, but we must all resolve to do our best for this state. It is a collective prosperity that I seek for all Lagosians”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Fola Adeyemi, said the Town Hall Meeting, the first of its kind in the state, was in line with of Governor Ambode’s electioneering campaign to run a government of inclusion.
Among those present at the event include the Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Chief Mrs Oluremi Tinubu OON, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu 1, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, Otunba Henry Ajomale, APC South West Women Leader, Chief Mrs Kemi Nelson, top government functionaries, among others.