Lagos Nigeria Budgets N1bn for New Buses

Raji_Fashola-224x336Lagos commuters will have cause to smile this year if the Lagos State Government fully utilised the N1 billion it has set aside to buy new buses for the LAGBUS scheme in the N489.6 bn budget signed into law Monday by Governor Babatunde Fashola. Commuters of the laudable transport scheme have often complained of spending long hours at bus stops waiting for the buses. It is hoped that the money budgeted to buy new buses for the scheme in this year’s budget will be used for the purpose to lessen the hardship experienced by commuters.

A breakdown of this year’s budget approved by the State House of Assembly last Thursday did not reveal the revenue expected to be generated by the scheme but under the Capital Contribution/Capital Receipts (Inflow and Outflow) the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, which is managing the scheme, is expected to generate N3.7bn revenue. Residents Registration Agency, LASSRA, led by Governor Babatunde Fashola’s sister, Olayinka Fashola, was allocated N1.3bn for capital expenditure and another N226.9m as subvention for this year while the agency is to generate only N1m.

The government also budgeted N322.6m under the Overhead Cost as special allowances for Obas in the state. Under the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Public Defender is to receive a subvention of N50m this year for its activities. Though the Lagos State Transport Management Agency, LASTMA, was expected to generate N500m this year, the Fashola administration did not deem it fit to provide for hazard allowance for the staff of the agency. The governor has often explained that LASTMA was not really created to generate revenue for the government but to manage traffic in the state. Observers are wondering whether the status quo has changed. The government has also earmarked N5bn under its capital expenditure as special expenditure with no details provided or any explanation on what it meant. The state is also to spend another N3bn as capital expenditure under what it terms state infrastructure intervention fund.

In the breakdown of the budget as obtained by P.M.NEWS, new intakes at the Lagos State University, LASU, will be given N200,170,500 as subvention while the government also proposed to give others N861,345,600 subvention under its scholarship/bursary fund. The Lagos State ScholarshipBoard will also receive N47m as subvention this year. The state is expected to pay N1.58bn under the capital expenditure as its outstanding liabilities this year. It will also pay N22.4bn as charges for its internal debt. On its external debt, the state will pay N921m. The N489. 690 billion budget was passed by the state House of Assembly last Thursday. The amount is 3.43 percent lower than last year’s budget. Out of the total sum, N234.665 billion is for recurrent while N255.025 billion is for capital expenditure. The Assembly, presided over by Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, passed the budget, having considered the outcome of its Appropriation Committee recommendations headed by Mudashiru Obasa.

Before the budget was passed, the committee had read the breakdown on sectoral basis. While it reduced allocations to some ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs), it added to others, based on their needs. The breakdown of the budget shows that Education will gulp N51.378 billion, Health, N22.07 billion, Works and Infrastructure, N100.12 billion and Environment, N25.67 billion.

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