The culture of accountability instituted in Annual Budget Implementation by the Lagos State Government has won confidence of the World Bank, which rated the State higher in the efficient management of resources and partnership grants.
Last year, the rating earned Lagos a grant opportunity of N5.51 billion from the World Bank under the State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) for Result Programme.
The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Samuel Egube, made the disclosure, on Thursday, when rendering stewardship of his Ministry during the ongoing the Inter-Ministerial Press Briefing in the State’s Secretariat, Alausa to mark the second-year anniversary of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.
Egube said the State Government, in the last two years, had entrenched Openness and Transparency in optimising performance of the State’s Budgets, resulting in the checking of leakages and improvement in good governance.
He said the key game-changing strategy initiated in budgetary allocation procedure was the establishment of Grant Coordination Committee and Grant Project Management Office which, he said, had enhanced coordination and strengthened the relationship between the State Government and Development Partners.
His words: “In optimising our budgetary performance, one of the elements that we have deliberately put in place is the level of Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, with which the Government runs. I am happy to inform the public that the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget has led a team that has worked successfully to scale up transparency and sustainability posturing of the State.
“After several independent audits by the World Bank, Lagos came out in flying colours as a State that is transparent in budget implementation and a State that met all standards for sustainability and accountability. As a result of this performance, Lagos Government was able to attract a grant of N5.51 billion from the World Bank on Year 2020 Budget Performance and other related activities. This has made us boost our partnership with different local and international development partners.”
Egube said Lagos’ physical and economic development had been sustained in the last two years, despite the turbulence the State went through during the last October 2020 violence and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The strategy, he said, inspired the setting up of Lagos State Resilience Office (LASRO) by the Sanwo-Olu administration to improve the resilience of the State and reinforce its ability to bounce back from adversity.
LASRO, the Commissioner maintained, is responsible for designing implementable strategies for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Government to mitigate physical, natural, health and economic shocks.
Egube disclosed that the government would be launching an advanced Open Data Digitisation System, tagged EKO 360 – an initiative of Lagos Bureau of Statistics (LBS), which will enable the State to give accurate data on health, education and economic wellbeing of residents.
LBS, Egube said, had embarked on Household Survey across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) between August and November 2020, with the aim of updating the data of economically-disadvantaged families and providing feedbacks that would guide the State Government’s interventions.
He said: “The Open Data project focuses on historical aggregation of Lagos data, pattern forecasting based on organised insights from the past and real-time data collection with the EKO 360 Mobile App. The derived data will be subsequently combined with data from different sources to create accurate data for provision of services and interventions. The platform will provide on-the-go access for the general populace.
“The information that comes out of this effort will be useful in strategy formulation and development planning. We want to ensure that no community in the State is left behind the Government’s planning and execution of projects. This is a show of the commitment by Governor Sanwo-Olu to identify those who are vulnerable and ensure that they are not left behind.”
The Commissioner disclosed that the Lagos State Operation Coordinating Unit (LASOCU) had shored up Single Social Register of most vulnerable and poor in the State from 36,968 individuals in December 2019 to 403,976 during the first wave of COVID-19 crisis and further to 1,596,596 individuals by last February.
Egube said the Economic Development Policy of the State Government, guided by the State Development Plan of 2012-2025, is being improved upon to a 30-year plan that would run until 2051.
This, he said, will encourage citizens’ participation, scale-up productivity and protect the vulnerable.