The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has revealed that the state government has acquired about 50 hectares of land in Abuja and neighbouring Ogun State for cultivation of food to support its agriculture and job-creation scheme.
Fashola made this known on Wednesday while he was speaking about the state government’s agricultural scheme as he was presenting the states 2013 budget estimated at N497.277billion to the State House of assembly.
Admitting the challenge of limited land in the coastal city, the governor stated that “due to the limited amount of land the State has to cultivate, the administration is pursuing a radical alternative of acquiring land for farming outside Lagos.”
According to the Governor, “the administration has already secured 50 hectares in Abuja, and Ogun State which is four times bigger than Lagos in land size for cultivation.” He added that “other States such as Bauchi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Katsina are favourably considering the State’s requests for farm lands.”
The administration is also cultivating 75 hectares of land for rice under its Rice for Jobs programme while the irrigation project to improve, yield and produce rice per hectare is progressing positively in Badagry.
Reeling out his administration’s further achievement in the agricultural sector, the governor stated that the 500 hectares of land was recently allocated for rice farming to feed the Imota Rice mill just as his administration has successfully completed the Imota Rice Mill in Ikorodu, the Erikorodo Feed Mill, the Erikorodo Chicken Processing Plant, also in Ikorodu and revitalized Ikorodu Fish Farm Estate.
The governor added that in Epe, the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme is progressing with the training of a new batch of 200 graduates for whom the Executive Council recently approved the release of N500M that will be given to them shortly along with one hectare of land per farmer to enable them start formal production.
The Governor who also spoke about a very massive storm that hit Lagos on 17th August 2012 which adversely affected Kuramo beach, Goshen Beach Estate, Oniru Estate and Alpha Beach explained that the government has designed a coastal protection plan with its consultants from the Netherlands, that will stretch for about 7 kilometres to protect Kuramo, Victoria Island Extension, Oniru Estate, Goshen Beach Estate and Alpha Beach.
“It will cost about N40billion to implement it over at least two budgetary cycles. Without help, we are constrained to finance and implement the plan in phases to arrest the immediate threats and then deliver the protection” he said.
While noting that the Federal Government gave the State a B Risk categorization with a support of only N400million, Governor Fashola said the State viewing its risk problem differently has had to act expeditiously.
Breakdown of N497.277billion budget for 2013
The 2013 budget comprised of capital expenditure of N268.364billion and recurrent figure of N139.173billion, exceeding the 2012 Budget by 1.08%.
The budget’s capital expenditure to recurrent ratio for the year 2013 is 54:46 as against 53:47 in 2012.
The sectorial allocation of the Budget in size and percentage are as follows: General Public Service- N114.076billion which amounts to 22.94%, Public Order & Safety- N18.799billion which is 3.78%, Economic Affairs-N156.273billion which is-31.43%,Environmental Protection-N44.131billion which is 8.87%, Housing & CommunityAmenities-N46.149billion which is -9.28%, Health- N42.498billion which is 8.55%, Recreation, Culture & Religion-N5.749billion which amounts to 1.16%, Education-64.343billion which is 12.94%, Social Protection-N3.259billion which amounts to 0.66%, Contingency-N2.000billion which is 0.44% all totalling N497.277billion.
The governor explained that in keeping faith with the promise that he made during the 2012 Budget presentation to gradually reduce the deficit and borrowing as the tenure approaches its terminal date, it has moved from a borrowing of N89 Billion in 2011 to N66 Billion in 2012 and now proposed a further reduction to N40Billion.
“The size of the deficit is reducing while our Consolidated Debt Service Account has grown to N60 Billion and will reach N95 Billion by the end of our tenure and that will be after we would have repaid the N50 Billion first tranche of the Bond Series”, he stated.
He also said the proposed deficit financing requirement for the 2013 Budget is N40.537billion which is 0.3% of the State’s GDP compared to 1.19% which was earmarked in 2012.
2012 budget implementation performance of 72%
The Governor also highlighted some of the challenges faced by the 2012 budget which included the depreciating value of the Naira against the Dollar which exchanged for N118 in 2007 and rose to N160 in 2012.
He drew attention to the high cost of funds represented by growing interest and borrowing rates, from about 10% in 2007 to 17% in 2011, which was an increase of 70%.
“At the end of the 3rd Quarter Budget presentation, we achieved an aggregate budget implementation performance of 72% for the period January to September 2012. The breakdown has been presented in our quarterly briefings as 65% in Q1, 84% in Q2 and 65% in Q3”.
He said although the State had recorded increases in its IGR, they did not increase by these percentage quantum, adding that in addition to these there were issues of increases to the pump prices of petrol which disrupted plans and the consequential need to re-price all contracts and projects that had been planned for implementation in order to ensure that the plans remained realistic and responsive to the dynamics that suddenly changed.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi Ikuforiji while speaking gave a commitment that the House of Assembly would give the necessary expeditious legislative consideration of the proposed Budget.