by Samuel Ogundipe
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has warned the state’s lawmakers about his intention to continue demolition of old structures to pave way for construction of new ones in the Gateway State. Amosun made the remark while presenting an estimated ₦210.21B budget proposal for fiscal year 2014.
The proposed budget is ₦1.57B short of what the administration budgeted for 2013 fiscal year.
The event, which took place at the state’s legislative building on Tuesday, was attended by all members of the state’s House of Assembly.
The budget proposal, which contains ₦117.51B and ₦92.70B capital and recurrent expenditures respectively, focused more on education and less on works project, marking a significant shift in the focus of an administration that is known for its massive construction works across the state.
Breakdown of the proposed budget revealed that education received the highest share with 20.93%, or ₦43.99B. Health sector received a significantly lesser priority with 12.72%, or ₦26.74B while 16.49%, or ₦43.6B, was earmarked for rural and infrastructural development.
The Governor also noted that, “Overhead cost is too high, but despite that, we are not going to sack our teachers. We have as at today, awarded 1,500 classrooms and we will continue to demolish the old structures and construct new ones. Some people will go and take picture of some dilapidated structures in our schools and post them on a social network, that, this school is in Ogun State, they should continue with that. What is on ground is not what we can correct in just 2 or 3 or 4 years, but we will get there one day.”
Senator Amosun later lamented that the state’s pocket has taken serious hit due to depleted federal allocation and Value Added Tax receipts.
Meanwhile, Hon. Bowale Sholaja, the most vocal of the 3 PDP members of Ogun State House of Assembly, has criticised the APC-led government’s budget as lacking the required ‘‘financial prudence’’ that should be intrinsic of any serious budget proposal.
‘‘At a time when the state is facing serious budget shortfall, Governor Amosun is doubling down on his reckless spending,’’ he told The Scoop in a telephone interview.
‘‘The Governor is spending ₦1B to construct the so-called millenium schools in a state where several primary and secondary schools have leaking and tattered roofing. This budget is not the true reflection of socio-economic viability of this state and I am going to do whatever I could to convince my distinguished colleagues to reject this budget in its entirety.’
‘‘This budget is an eyesore. It’s indifferent to the plight of Ogun people.’’