Business experts and economists have called for improved revenue collection to drive effective implementation of the Lagos N2.2trn 2024 budget recently presented by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
They spoke at a round-table to review the Lagos economy in 2023 and the outlook for 2024, organised by the Economic Intelligence Department (EID) of the state Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, where they noted that the 2024 appropriation bill, when passed would meet expectations of the people.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu recently presented an estimate of N2.2 trillion to the state House of Assembly for 2024, and christened the ‘budget of renewal’. The budget proposed increased capital spending in key sectors of the economy.
Ayo Teriba, chief executive at Economic Associates, reviewing the 2023 budget, said it was expected that by the end of the third quarter (September), the budget performance would have attained 75 percent but it surpassed that and achieved 78 percent.
“As of September, this year (2023), they have achieved 78 percent performance. September is the end of the third quarter, so they should have achieved 75 percent but they did 78 percent which is good. It makes the 2024 appropriation bill they have presented credible.”
Terbia, however, urged the state Economic Intelligence Department to optimise data collections on state assets to boost revenue generation and allow for effective implementation of the 2024 budget when passed by the House of Assembly.
Adeola Adenikinju, president of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), commended the state government for the indicator in the proposed bill that almost half of the spending would be coming from internally generated revenue (IGR).
Adenikinju said “The ratio between the capital expenditure being significantly higher than the recurrent is good,” adding that only a few states in the country can boast of this.
He added that Lagos boasts of ‘relatively strong institutions that help drive the performance and the economy’.
In his presentation, Femi Saibu, a professor of Economics at the University of Lagos, charged the state government to set more priorities right and focus on realistic sectors, citing the agricultural sector as one the government needs to pay attention to.
He said, “Every year we budget on agriculture. We make agriculture our priority and yet the land and resources to do this are not available. We need to strike a balance and decide which one is our focus.”
Urging the government to address inflation in the economy, Babajide Komolafe, Vanguard Economy editor, one of the discussants, said “The inflation rate for Lagos rose by 9.92 percentage points but for the national, the increase in the inflation rate was just 5.86 percent.
Inflation in Lagos as of November was 32 percent, that of the national was 27.33, then the question is why the huge disparities?”
Earlier, Ope George, the state commissioner for economic planning and budget, said the gathering was expected to offer “insightful analysis, collaborative strategies, actionable recommendations and for resilience building.
“We are poised to delve into comprehensive discussions, analyse critical economic indicators, and glean insights from the collective wisdom assembled in this room. The knowledge and expertise each of you brings to the table will undoubtedly contribute to the formulation of robust strategies and policies that will guide us through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” he said.