By Lanre Adesanya
In preparation for a definite presentation of year 2016 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly by the Governor, legislators have been urged to be more determined and result oriented, as lawmakers and true representatives of the people.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa gave this charge while delivering his opening speech at a 3-day training and capacity building seminar organised for lawmakers in the Assembly theme; “Enhancing Capacity for Emerging Challenges and State Development” on Thursday 9th December at the Green Legacy Resort, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
Obasa noted that most Nigerians regard Lagos State as the centre of excellence, adding that the state has been lucky to have committed leaders since the advent of the current democracy in 1999 starting from the era of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to that of former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and now Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
In his words, “no efforts should be spared at mapping out an effective strategy that could help us in tackling the increasing poverty, unemployment and misery that have been confronting our people owing to the worsening global economic woes.
“As lawmakers, the time has come for us to gird our loins in our determination to successfully battle these problems and liberate our people once and for all.”
He enjoined the lawmakers to wear their thinking caps in order to make the 8th Assembly the most pro-people and pro-development Legislative House, not just in Lagos, but across the country.
“Colleagues, comprehending what budget constitutes is germane to our daily oversight functions. We need to appreciate the basic components of budget such as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), recurrent and capital expenditure, financing, income, overhead, production, totals, projections and expenses among others.
“This need is as important as the need to apply these same skills to the development, monitoring and implementation of the budget.”
He urged the lawmakers to ensure that the 2016 budget is properly scrutinized and promptly approved so that the people can start enjoying the dividend of democracy, adding that there is the need to grasp the full understanding of budgeting in line with parliamentary role thus the need for the seminar.
“In the same vein, we need to know that we have oversight functions on the executive, and to effectively do this, we must understand the instrument needed, which is budget in this case. Number one thing there, however, is to know what personnel costs are.
“Likewise in this matter are standing order and business rules of the House. We need to know that our hallowed chamber is the stock exchange of the parliament, where transactions take place. For you to be on top of your game, you need to understand the rules guiding votes and proceedings of the House,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Clerk of the House, Mr. Segun Ganiyu Abiru revealed that the theme of the seminar was designed in consonance with the change mantra of the current political dispensation.
“You would all recall that the last general election that ushered in the current government in the State and the national level has left no one in doubt as to its reformation agenda as well as uncompromising commitments to the improvement of the socio-political and economic life of the State and the nation.
“As a testimony to his commitment, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode the Governor of the State shortly before the appointment of commissioners in the State reorganized some of the State Ministries in order to strategically reposition them to meet the emerging challenges and needs of the time,” he said.
He emphasised that the leadership of the House equally took its time to carefully study the Governor’s moves and thereafter reconstituted the various House Committees for effective legislation, effective oversight and efficient service delivery.
“Besides, going by the so much expectations that trailed the inauguration of the 8th Legislative Assembly on 8th June, 2015 coupled with the track records already set by the past Assembly, there is need for Honourable Members and staff to redouble their efforts to further improve on their skills and knowledge base which had always been the key to our legislative and commendations by all and sundry,” he said.
He stated that over the years, the state legislature has undergone series of transformation through the exposure of members and staff to capacity building programmes that have equally and evidently boosted their confidence in facing up to various challenges in the discharge of their oversight and legislative assignments.
According to a reliable source, the 2016 budget may have been slated for presentation on the 16th day of this month.