The Lagos 2021 Appropriation Bill of N1.16 trillion successfully scaled through the second reading on the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly after the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, read it at the plenary session.
According to the Chairman, House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu, his committee would thoroughly review the budget before it can be considered and eventually passed.
He further noted that the current counterpart funding arrangement was not satisfactory, as it could inhibit the state from accessing the requisite grants.
Also, on the sectoral allotments, he is worried over a number of issues including the vote heads allotted to a number of sectors vis-a-vis the external and internal loans of the state, considering the state debt burden is in trillions of naira.
What they are saying
Mr. Yishawu said, “All seems not to be right with the projection of the 2021 estimate, as the expected revenues is most likely unattainable. This is because of the recent developments of COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARS protest which have left behind sad tales of economic woes for the state and the country at large.
“The revenue-generating agencies needed more vote heads and the House needed to look at the budget critically to ensure revenues were used conscientiously, as well as looking at outsourcing our collections and increase coverage.”
Mr Rotimi Olowo, Chairman House Committee on Finance, was full of praise for Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the focus of the budget on empowering the youths through several schemes but cautioned the house to always use empirical facts and data to validate all the budget provisions, adding that the state needs a budget size that is easily and seamlessly implementable.
Commenting as well, Mr. Tobun Abiodun, Chairman House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, noted that since revenue drives the budget, there is a strong imperative for adequate provisions to be made regarding revenue projections.
Also, Oluyinka Ogundimu, the Chairman House Committee on Education, is worried over obvious gaps in finance as well as the revenue expectations and carefully noted that as the effects of COVID-19 are still evident in the state, it would be quite difficult for any breakeven projections to be achieved, given the wanton destruction of private and public assets in the state during the #EndSARS protests.
The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, however, advised, “I want to caution the committee not to jump to conclusions on the revenue projection until their engagement with the MDAs. The state recently grapples with attendant effects of inflation, unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the EndSARS protest. Therefore, the budget must have a human face to put smiles on the faces of victims, whose means of livelihood were grossly affected.”
Mr. Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, requested the committee look into all grey areas highlighted and also committed the 2021 budget to the Joint Committees of the House on Appropriation and Finance for a thorough review and to report back to the general assembly in six weeks.
What you should know
- The second reading of a bill is the first opportunity for the members of the house to review and debate the main principles of the Bill.
- To pass a bill on the floor of the house, it takes several steps including first reading, second reading, committee stage, report stage, third reading, then assent/approval.