Sanwo-Olu and Speaker Mudashiru Obasa during the budget presentation.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga 

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday presented budget estimates of N1.155 trillion to the State House of Assembly for approval for the 2021 fiscal year.

The 2021 budget estimates is titled: “Budget of Rekindled Hope.”

The budget estimates is higher than the 2020 budget after it was reduced to N920.5 billion due to challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget represents N234.5 billion higher than the 2020 budget after it was reduced. But it is lesser than the initial 2020 budget of N1.68 trillion by N53.5 billion.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the 2021 budget has a total revenue of N962.528 billion and a total Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of N795,744 billion.

The governor said the budget has a Capital Expenditure of 703.272 billion and a Recurrent Expenditure of N451.750 billion.

He said the 2021 budget would focus on youth employment, security, youth engagement and social work, among others.

On youth empowerment, Sanwo-Olu said it has become expedient to leverage the state’s developmental efforts by focusing on sectors with job creating potential like Agriculture, Construction, Technology and Security.

“We are set to improve the economic conditions and social safety needed for our youth and all hardworking Lagosians to flourish. We are committing resources to sectors that need to grow for our people to become self-reliant and economically empowered.

“Consequently, for the agricultural sector, our food security plan has a cumulative budget of N22.21 billion while we are committing a cumulative budgetary provision of N311.43 billion to infrastructure: this will cover direct intervention through the Ministries of Works and Infrastructure, Water front, Transportation, the Judiciary, our Schools and Seed Capital of N15 billion for The Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund.

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“This does not include the value to be created from executing the rail lines (both Red and Blue) recently approved by the Lagos State House of Assembly. To continue to drive our digitisation strategy, we have committed a total of N37.37 billion investment in technology, while in the environment and health services we have committed a total of N48.28 billion and N111.94 billion respectively.

“In line with our urgent need to light up Lagos we will begin a set of initiatives in the energy sector to ensure the Lagos economy is supported by power one community at a time. To this we have committed a total of N32.58billion in the 2021 budget,” he said.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the 2021 Appropriation Bill ‘also speaks to the restoration of economic balance as we navigate our way out of the negative impact of both the pandemic and the destruction of public assets following the ENDSARS protest hijack. A pivotal crux of the 2021 budget will be the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture among our people.

“In light of this, micro, small and medium enterprises will be strengthened because their activities help to facilitate socio-economic advancement. We have done a lot to support the entrepreneurs in Lagos state through the LSETF and we will do more by providing technical and financial support so that they can in turn generate employment that will stimulate equitable economic prosperity.

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“We understand that we must consolidate our gains in the technology sector for accelerated economic growth and job creation. In order to achieve this, we will collaborate with major players in that space like Oracle, Microsoft and Google to prepare our youths for the IT job market. As we focus on job and wealth creation, we will also prioritize the security of lives and property as well as local intelligence gathering in our communities by increasing significantly the number of our Neighbourhood Watch Officers over the next two years.

“All these will be achieved through our human development MDAs comprising the Ministries of Education, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Wealth Creation, (including LSETF) and SDGI. Consequently, the cumulative budgetary provision towards Human capital development effort from these MDAs total’s N148.57billion.”

On security, the governor said his government is working on reviving the growth of our economy and must commit resources to statewide security architecture, especially in the areas of intelligence gathering and the motivation of all security personnel in the Neighbourhood Watch.

“We will not just increase the size of the Neighbourhood Watch personnel across the state, we will henceforth ensure their training includes community engagement, de-escalation techniques, and proactive information gathering within communities. We believe that as the population of Lagos State increases and becomes more sophisticated, so should the training of our security personnel; to cope with extant challenges.”

On youth engagement and social works, Sanwo-Olu said the possibilities for economic and social growth abounded in the state, saying that, “we must be emphatic about engaging our youth. As a father, politician, and governor, I am saddened by the increasing rise of substance abuse among our youth, particularly the boys. Our developmental vision would be incomplete without a vibrant, capable, and healthy youth population to take the baton of leadership when we leave the scene.

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“This government has, therefore, made it its prerogative to increase its financial commitment to youth mentoring, mental health support, and substance abuse rehabilitation. Very soon, we will unveil our comprehensive action plan to address this issue. The initiative is being driven by the Neighbourhood Watch, The Ministry of Youth and Social Development and the Office of Civic Engagement.

“Our approach will entail a robust communication strategy that will highlight government’s projects and initiatives in a format that is easy to digest by our youths: our intention is cultivate their trust and get them to embrace participatory governance. We must do all we can to deter them from cybercrime and other vices. Consequently, there is a proposed allocation of N9.16 billion in the 2021 Budget,” he said.