Ambode clarifies N500bn approved by Lagos Assembly

• Says N60bn accessible for 2016  will be spent on Ajah, Abule Egba, others

Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has clarified the N500billion bond programme approved by the state House of Assembly, saying the state can only draw N60billion for the 2016 fiscal year from the total approved and later draw from the remaining fund for subsequent years as approved by the House.

According to the governor, the bond is a pool fund that would span over a period of time and not just for the current appropriation year,  adding that  the N60billion  would be used to accelerate the aggressive infrastructural development ongoing in the state, including the completion of the Ajah Flyover, Abule Egba Flyover, Pen Cinema Flyover as well as the construction  of  bus parks.

He said it would be used to improve health facilities and the building of more public schools among many other infrastructural projects.

Governor Ambode, who spoke to journalists on Wednesday, said that it was pertinent to clarify the bond programme as it had been technically misrepresented in some section of the media.

The governor, while explaining the modalities of the bond programme, said that the state, since 2007, had had two bond issuance programmes, adding that the one recently approved by the Assembly, was the third and would run for a period of three to five years.

He said the state could only draw N60billion from the pool of N500billion for the current appropriation year and would also draw from the fund for subsequent years as approved by the House.

“Before you can actually even appropriate it in your budget, you need that programme and that programme was what was approved by the House. But in the appropriation of 2016, what is in the Appropriation Law for 2016 is just N60billion.

“So, it’s from this programme that we are pulling out this N60billion. So, for next year’s budget, if the House approves for instance, N80billion as bond, we don’t need to go back to the House again after they have approved that budget, you draw from that issuance programme and take another amount which is approved for 2017 budget.

“If they approve any amount for 2018 budget, you take from that pool of N500billion, which can take the next five to  10 years. So, it’s just a lump sum which you now draw down based on the authorisation by the House.

Speaking further, Governor Ambode said that the financial arrangement of the state is such that bond programmes embarked upon, were easily repayable through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), adding, “All we are just doing is to accelerate development for the future prosperity of  the state .”

The governor also thanked members of the Lagos State House of Assembly for approving the bond,  adding that their actions had also shown their passion and commitment to see the state make appreciable progress.