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Lagos engages stakeholders on 2021 budget

Lagos State government has begun engagement with stakeholders to get their inputs into the making of the 2021 budget. The state commissioner for economic planning and budget, Samuel Egube speaking at the 2021 budget forum which held in Ikeja, on Wednesday, said that for 2020, the state government has significantly minimised the effect of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic through interventions in healthcare system, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor, and was looking to redirecting effort to boost employment and food production in the coming year.

“The state government has increased commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) to help them during and post Covid-19.

“We intend to adopt consolidation and tactical redirection to areas that would help employment, food production, and security, particularly to overcome the effects of Covid-19.

“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the ministry of wealth creation. The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” said Egube.

He noted that for the halfyear of 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 percent – N334.838 billion which in absolute terms is higher than the 73 percentN316.676 billion for the same period of 2019.

“The Covid-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world, and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.

“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six percent against the approved budget.

“In view of the dwindling revenue of the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) due to the pandemic, the government is committed to growing the state’s IGR to sustain its developmental projects.

“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.

“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins are underway,” he said.

Egube said the state was also providing wage subsidies for SMEs based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund (LSETF).

“The rice mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 percent completion. “It is expected to produce 120, 000 metric tons annually, and increase local rice production by 75 percent. Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.

The special adviser on economic planning and budget, Adebayo Sodade said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half-year performance of the budget. Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates, and the effect of Covid-19 on the economy.

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