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AMBODE PRESENTS N852.316BN Y2019 BUDGET TO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday presented the year 2019 budget proposal of N852.316billion to the House of Assembly, with a pledge that it had been carefully prepared to be all-encompassing and dedicated to complete major ongoing projects in the State.

The Governor said N462.757billion representing 54 percent of the total budget size had been earmarked for capital expenditure, while N389.560billion representing 46 percent had been dedicated to recurrent expenditure, saying that key projects such as the Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and Oshodi Interchange Terminal, among others would be completed.

He said from inception of his administration, nine key areas were given priority after careful assessment of the needs of the citizens, adding that such had informed the massive investment in the said sectors which he listed to include security, transport / traffic management, economy -including tourism and agriculture, housing, education, health, infrastructure – social and physical, water, wealth creation – skill acquisition/microfinance, e-Governance and enhanced capacity building, sustainable environment and smart city projects.

Giving details of what informed the budget size, Governor Ambode said the performance of Y2018 budget of N1.046trn as at November 2018 stood at 60 percent owing to reduction in revenue projections, while the total revenue stood at N530.192billion.

According to him, “In the outgoing year, however, we experienced a reduction in our revenue projections, which affected our projected performance and our desired implementation of the Y2018 Budget. The overall Budget performance as at November 2018 stood at 60 per cent/N574,206billion with actual cumulative total revenue of N530,192billion/64 per cent, Capital Expenditure closed at N311,930billion/49 per cent and Recurrent Expenditure performed at N262,276billion/82 per cent.

“In preparing the Year 2019 Budget, therefore, we were very mindful of the out-going year performance, the yearnings of our people and the fact that we are going into an election year. Consequently, we are today presenting a Budget that will be all-encompassing, reflect the level of resources that will be available and with special consideration to the completion of major on-going projects in the State.”

While outlining the key components of the Y2019 budget and the sectoral allocations, the Governor said with priority given to completion of major infrastructure projects and smooth transition to the next administration, the government was proposing a total budget size of ‘N852,316,936,483,’ including a deficit financing of N77.086billion which is expected to be sourced from internal loans and other sources.

He added: “The projected total revenue for Year 2019 is ₦775.231billion, of which ₦606.291billion is expected to be generated internally, ₦168.940billion is expected from Federal Transfers while a total of  ₦77.086billion will be sourced through deficit financing within our medium term expenditure framework.

“In 2019, as was with our previous budgets, Economic Affairs still dominates the sectoral allocation of the proposed budget. This is due to our continued focus on the completion of major on-going projects such as: Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road; Agege Pen Cinema Flyover; Phase II of Aradagun-Iworo -Epeme Road, Oshodi Interchange Terminal; completion of JK Randle Complex, Onikan Stadium; Imota Rice Mill; Renovation/Furnishing of Lagos Revenue House, amongst others in order to meet their specified deliverable outcomes without any bias or prejudice to others.”

Expressing optimism that the revenues of the State would improve in 2019, Governor Ambode said the government had begun consolidating on the already established public financial management and technology-driven revenue reforms through data integration and use of multi-payment channels, just as he said that every strata of the society would benefit from the budget.

“The Year 2019 Budget has been carefully planned to accommodate all and sundry; women, youth and physically challenged, young and old. We will continue to spread development to all part of our state even as we embark on effective transition knowing fully well that the implementation, failure or success of the Budget depend on all of us,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode commended the Speaker and members of the Assembly for the support accorded his administration in the last three and half years, while also acknowledging the role of Royal Fathers, Religious leaders, members of the Business Community, Professional Bodies, Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organisations, public servants and all residents as well as members of the fourth estate of the realm for their various support and contribution during the lifespan of his administration.

In his remarks, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa expressed optimism that the budget would be of great benefit to the people of the State, just as he assured that the House would work with the executive to pass the budget.

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Election shift: I’m deeply disappointed with INEC —Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep disappointment over the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The President lamented that, despite giving all the necessary support to the electoral umpire, the exercise was postponed just hours to voting and after Nigerians had taken the pains to travel to vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement,” Buhari said in a statement he signed on Saturday morning in Daura, Katsina State.

However, he asked INEC to ensure the safety of election materials already distributed and appealed to Nigerians to remain law abiding.

Buhari also stated that he had decided to relocate to Abuja from Daura to ensure that the meeting INEC called to hold with stakeholders was successfully.

His statement reads further, “We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

“While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.”

Source: Punch Newspaper

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President Buhari’s statement on postponement of elections by INEC

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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT BUHARI ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF GENERAL ELECTIONS BY INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

Muhammadu Buhari

Daura, February 16, 2019

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Election postponement: I’m disappointed….Balarabe Musa

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Former Kaduna State Governor, Balarabe Musa, on Saturday expressed disappointment over the postponement of the general elections, but declared that INEC was never prepared for the exercise in the first place.

INEC had announced the postponement a few hours to the kickoff of the February 16 presidential and National Assembly polls.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while announcing the postponement in Abuja, attributed the step to “overwhelming logistics and operational challenges.”

The Commission fixed February 23 and March 9 as new dates for the presidential and National Assembly elections; and the governorship and state Assembly polls respectively.

But Musa, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Saturday, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, at the development.

“I am not surprised because INEC was never ready for the exercise, given the level of its preparations.

“INEC had serious funding challenges; what was appropriated to the Commission by the National Assembly was not adequate and everyone knew it.

“We are not even sure if the approved amount was released to the electoral body by the Federal Government.

“The logistics and operational challenges are glaring. There are also serious security challenges that may affect the agency in the course of the elections.

“The security services are facing the same funding crises and most of them are living in fear.

“You can also see the serious challenges being faced by the Judiciary, who are supposed to play a major role in the election process,” Musa said.

“So, I must say that I am disappointed; but, again, as I said, I am not surprised. I hope that all the stakeholders will take the necessary measures to help INEC address the issues before February 23, the new date for the presidential polls, because the President can only hand over power to an elected person.”

Musa called on Nigerians to remain calm as they prepare towards the new dates for the polls.

(NAN)

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