Ambode: We Spent 60% of 2016 Budget on Infrastructure Projects

  •  Urges FG to increase capital expenditure

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, wednesday said his administration injected 60 per cent of the 2016 budget on strategic infrastructure projects to reflate the state’s economy at the time of national crisis.

Consequently, the governor asked the federal government to increase its capital expenditure, which he said, was critical to reflate the country’s troubled economy and end the vicious cycle of economic recession.

He gave the advice at the State House, Alausa, yesterday when the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Economic Recession, Hon. Olabode Ayorinde led other lawmakers to pay him a courtesy visit.

Other members of the House Committee on Economic Recession, who visited Ambode alongside its chairman comprised Hon. Wale Raji, Hon. Mamud Gaya, Hon. Moriki Hussaini, and Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu.

Ambode shared experience with the lawmakers, noting that his administration simply rose capital expenditure about 60 per cent and intensified its execution to reflate the state’s economy at the turbulent period.

According to him, 60 per cent of the 2016 budget was ploughed towards infrastructure projects in all parts of the state. And our decision to inject more funds into infrastructure projects helped us survive recession with ease.

Ambode explained that such projects contributed significantly “to keep the state’s economy afloat with low income earners engaged. It is important for governments at all levels to keep spending on infrastructure.

“In every contract or construction at the nooks and crannies of Lagos, there is a bricklayer that is employed. There is a driver that is driving lorry load of sand. There is that food seller that is giving the workers some food and a minimum of N5,000 in every household has a multiplier effect on the economy.”

He said this was the strategy his administration adopted “to survive recession. We have not kept that development in one area. We have replicated it in all the senatorial districts in the state so that those living in Badagry can earn income in Badagry and actually improve on the economy.

“This is what other states in the federation should replicate and even at the national level. You need to spend your way out of recession. That is why there is nothing like recession in the city of Lagos.”

The governor said his administration invested massively on security and reviving a 24/7 economy for the state through the Light up Lagos project, noting that such was important for the economy to thrive.

Ambode, therefore, called for convergence between fiscal and monetary policies to tackle recession, while also urging lawmakers to come up with legislation that would take people out of poverty.

He said: “I want to enjoin our legislative house that we need to fast-track some of our legislation that are really people-driven and also back us in terms of the executive decisions that will take us out of recession.”

Ayorinde, the Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Recession, acknowledged that Lagos state currently dictated the pace of the economy in Nigeria,” noting that the success story of the state was not only benefiting residents, but equally helping to get the country’s economy back on track.

Ayorinde said other states could learn from the template Lagos deployed “to tackle the economic recession. We take legislative notice of the serious development that is going on in Lagos State.

He said the economic power of Lagos State “dictates the pace of the economy in Nigeria. Some of the steps that Lagos is taking now other states that have not been able to pay salaries may not be able to take such steps.

“We are looking at this nationally. If an industry in Lagos State employs about 5000 persons, for example, I am sure that the company will not employ only indigenes of Lagos State.

“If the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country increases, it is not a factor of where it comes from, wherever the economy has been improved, it is national income and Nigeria will be better for it.”