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Lagos budget not on ministry’s website three months after governor’s assent

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Sanwo-Olu

Three months after Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, signed the 2019 budget into law, the state’s financial plan is yet to be made available on the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget’s website.

This is contrary to the tradition where the budget is usually uploaded on the ministry’s website for public knowledge, which breaks a decade’s tradition of having the state’s budget online, although details are usually not available compared to the Federal Government’s budget put online.

Unlike the Federal Government’s website where details of financial plans are provided on the budget office website, only summaries have been made available online in the Lagos budgets from 2008 to 2018.

Therefore, Lagos citizens now clamour for details of the state budget on the ministry’s site, but it seems civil society groups and some residents who have been agitating for details of Lagos budget may need to double their efforts and fight for better transparency under the Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

This is especially as the details or summaries of the 2019 budget remain unavailable online, in spite of the fact that it was signed into law over three months ago.

Head of Research at BudgIT, a civil society group championing transparency, Ojiugo Uche said: “We at BudgIT have noticed the lapse and failure to release details of the Lagos budget, especially since Sanwo-Olu promised to run an open, transparent and accessible government.

“As such, we are continuing our #OpenLagos campaign. BudgIT is following up online and offline through letters. We will not rest until the budget documents and other financial details are made public and accessible.”

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube did not pick his calls when The Guardian contacted him to speak on the development, he neither acknowledged nor responded to a text message sent to his telephone.

Besides, no fewer than 5000 Lagos women would benefit from the Lagos State Government Trust Fund aimed at empowering and expanding businesses of residents.

Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that women were being targeted because the state government was committed to taking residents out of poverty and one way to do so was through support for women and increased funding for the initiative from N4b to N10b.

He said with the initiative, several persons would be taken out of poverty, as they would double their sales and businesses, adding, “support to a woman is a support to a family, therefore if a woman is taken of poverty, a family had been liberated from poverty.”

At the ceremony, 794 beneficiaries received cheques to help expand their businesses even as the governor insisted that the programme has no political affinity as it is meant for all residents irrespective of their political leaning.

Also, Sanwo-Olu unveiled the 492 Igando Housing Estate named after the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande, noting that the state’s housing deficit challenge was real.


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