Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, on Thursday, that governance has never stopped in the state despite the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that soon after the lockdown was eased, piloting of the state commenced, leading to the commissioning of a number of completed projects, while those undergoing execution were set for completion.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said this while speaking at the 2019/2020 Annual Press Conference Week Lecture of the Lagos State Governor’s Office Correspondents (LAGOCO), themed: “Rethinking Lagos For the Post COVID-19 Era.”
This was just as the State’s Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Sam Egube, disclosed that Lagos recorded 81per cent of the projected revenue for the first half of 2020, despite the COVID-19 scourge.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, listed the projects to include the rolling out of new buses for ease of transportation, launching new boats and channel-routes for waterways as well as commissioning of new health facilities, housing schemes, among others.
Speaking at the event, Egube, who was the guest speaker, and represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor, on Economic Matters, Mr. Lekan Balogun, disclosed that the 81per cent performance of the projected revenue for the period under review stood at N432.6 billion.
According to the commissioner, the Sanwo-Olu administration has been able to re-strategize to conform with the demands of the present realities, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that a good government is one which has the ability to respond when disturbances arise.
“Lagos State economy remains the largest and arguably the fastest growing economy in Nigeria. The state’s economy was projected to grow at four percent prior to COVID-19. However, the COVID-19 has affected the possibilities of achieving such a prosperous target.
“Having looked at the half of the year budget performance, it showed that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the total revenue recorded in performance is at 81 percent of our initial target,” Egube said.
The commissioner, however, said it was the strain brought by the COVID-19 pandemic that occasioned a contraction in the state’s budget by 21 percent in response to constriction in economic activities.
Besides, he argued that the review of the budget was among others, necessitated by lower GDP growth, the decline in demands for good and services, and a shortfall in revenue generation, saying the exercise was
effected to maintain a strong response to the effects of the pandemic on food, ensure job creation, economic stability, and economic reforms for ease-of-doing-business.
Egube disclosed that the experience of the lockdown brought the state government to the reality of the shortcomings in the state’s food storage system, which he said necessitated an increase of the allocation to the Agriculture sector to N2.8 billion.