The Lagos State government has denied reports that it could not meet its monthly recurrent expenditure and loan repayments obligations in 2019, insisting instead that it had a 90bn budget surplus.
The state government was responding to a publication by BudgIT, which questioned the state’s ability to meet its financial obligations.
A statement on Monday signed by the state’s finance commissioner, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, said Lagos was financially and economically solid.
He put the state’s published 2019 audited financial statement as generating a total revenue of N644,762,788,340.04. The amount spent on loan repayment and recurrent expenditure was 554,241,725,038.00 and the surplus was N90,521,063,302.04.
He said, “Lagos State is economically and financially viable and the Government of Lagos State continues to expand funding sources whilst also ensuring that prudence and sustainability are at the fore of all funding and expenditure decisions.”
The statement reads in part:
“Lagos State continues to meet all its recurrent and loan service obligations and the information that was published in incorrect, inaccurate and a gross distortion of the actual facts.
“As indicated in Lagos State’s published Financial Statements, the information in the table published by BudgIT should have correctly indicated a surplus of N89 billion (Eight-Nine Billion Naira).
“Lagos State Government continues to efficiently explore options in both the Financial and Capital Markets, to extract optimal funding solutions, which will enhance the administration’s ability to deliver on the construction, renewal and improvement of the deficit in social and physical infrastructure for the benefit of Lagosians; who represent 10% of Nigeria’s population.”
“In the year under review (2019), Lagos State restructured all existing internal loan facilities to 14% per annum, from between 18% and 20% per annum. These rates have even more recently been re-negotiated to circa 12% per annum.
“Lagos State is the only State that is not reliant on the allocation from the Federal Account Allocation Committee, with Internally Generated Revenues representing circa 72% of the State’s aggregate revenues to enable it address challenges faced by mega cities world over. As at August 2020, Lagos State’s Internal Revenue Service is doing 103% above budget, and well above 2019 figures, despite the COVID-19 pandemic which demonstrate the fiscal resilience of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration for a Greater Lagos.”