Confusion as Lagos Assembly keeps mum over 2019 appropriation bill

Eight days to the end of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration in Lagos State, the confusion over the whereabouts of the 2019 Appropriation Bill passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly seems to have no end in sight.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there were a lot of impasses between the executive and the House before the budget was formally presented in February by the governor on the floor of the House.

The House, however, passed the budget on April 29, more than 80 days after it was laid before the lawmakers.

Meanwhile, three weeks after the appropriation bill was passed by the House, the whereabouts of the bill seems to be uncertain which has become a subject of discourse among concerned groups and ordinary citizens of the state.

Several efforts have been made to know the whereabouts of the bill which proved abortive as those who should know have kept shifting responses from Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni to the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House, Mr Musbau Razak.

Another check by correspondents of NAN on Wednesday revealed that the dark times were not over yet.

Sanni told NAN: “I am a civil servant, I am barred from granting press interview. Any information you need on this can be obtained from the Chairman, House Committee on Information.

“She is the spokesperson of the House. She will give you detailed information on this.”

Asked if his office had done the needful after the Speaker directed him to forward the clean copy of the passed appropriation bill to Ambode for assent on April 29, Sanni said that all information could be obtained from the House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy.

He told NAN that Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, the Chairman, House Committee on Information would be in the best position to answer any question pertaining to the 2019 state’s appropriation bill.

Meanwhile, calls put through to the line of Tejuosho by NAN were not answered and returned.

An aide to the Governor who preferred anonymity said, “I do not think the budget has been transmitted to the governor. If so, he would have assented to it.”

The Lagos Assembly on April 29 passed the state’s 2019 Appropriation Bill of N873. 532 billion.

The approval came more than 80 days after Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode presented the 2019 appropriation bill  of N852. 316 billion on Feb. 5 to the state assembly.

The House approved N393, 841, 387, 020 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for recurrent expenditure and N479, 691, 073, 705 from Development Revenue Fund for capital expenditure.

The budget size thereby totalled N873, 532, 460, 725 which is N21.216 billion higher than the budget size presented by Ambode.

The House passed the bill after the Speaker, Obasa, had conducted a voice-vote on each of the allocations for ministries, departments and agencies.

Obasa directed the Clerk of the House, Sanni, to send a copy of the bill to Ambode for his assent.

The 2019 budget is N287. 68 billion lesser than that of 2018 which stood at N 1.04 trillion.

The budget has a capital expenditure of N462 .757 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N389.560 billion.

The capital to recurrent ratio of the budget stood at 54:46.

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