Governor Ambode of Lagos State gives account of his first three months in office, stating that his administration has saved N12 billion from realigning the ministries, departments and agencies of government
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Oct 19, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
IN fulfilment of his campaign promise to operate a government of inclusion, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has started interactions with the people of the state to discuss the plans and programmes of his administration and the progress so far made. The governor on Tuesday, October 6, held his first quarterly town hall meeting with the people of Lagos West Senatorial District, at Abesan Mini Stadium, Ipaja, Lagos.
Governor Ambode said the quarterly report would be rotated around the three senatorial districts of the state and with it every part of the state would have an opportunity to engage with his administration. “I stand before you today to give account of our stewardship in the first quarter of this administration and to hear your thoughts on how we can jointly improve the socio-economic well-being of our people with the ultimate goal of positioning our state on the ladder of economic prosperity.
“This government has decided to change from the traditional 100 days address to an interactive quarterly report. This quarterly town hall meeting is one of the many platforms we have designed to enable us to bring government closer to our people, to enable us come together and rub minds on salient issues bordering on the overall improvement and development of our State. Just as we did during the electioneering period, we will come to you to collectively appreciate your challenges, jointly proffer solutions to them as well as identify areas requiring government attention in the various localities in order to guide our actions,” he said.
Governor Ambode said his administration has reduced the cost of governance in the state by saving N3 billion monthly. He said a total of N12 billion had been saved in the first four months of his government. “This has provided us with more funds to inject into capital projects and the initial funds to establish the Employment Trust Fund which we promised our youths. Today, a major landmark of our administration is the reduction in the cost of governance. We want a lean government with quality service delivery.”
The governor said that reducing the cost of governance was achieved through the re-alignment of the state’s ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs and restructuring of government. He also reiterated his determination to be accountable for every revenue and expenditure of the state. “Lagos State Government is proud to declare that it has consistently met its obligations, especially prompt payment of workers’ salaries without seeking any bailout from the federal government,” he said.
Ambode said his administration was poised to stabilise Lagos State’s finances through financial re-engineering and reviewing the state’s expenditure and revenue framework. In August, the governor stated, N11 billion was released for the payment of pension arrears since 2010 and, in the succeeding months, bond certificates of the Contributory Pension Scheme had been presented to pensioners.
According to Ambode, in addition, the state government had approved the appointment of four additional Pension Fund administrators to further boost the processes and accord staff a wider range of options. “We are presently reviewing our loans with our bankers with a view to restructuring them in order to free up funds for further infrastructural development,” he said.
In the health sector, Ambode said his government had provided additional 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances, bringing the total number of the ambulances to 36. He said the ambulances were purchased at a cost of N145.240 million and deployed in all the state’s ambulance points. “We have also provided additional 26 Transport Ambulances at the cost of N257.4 million deployed across all our general hospitals. We have created Ambulance Points across the states for easy access to our people. The ambulance service can be reached by calling the Toll-Free Line 112.
“Our administration in the last three months has installed 22 power generating sets ranging from 350 –500 KVA as additional back-up sets across all our General Hospitals at the cost of N270 million to ensure 24-hour power supply. In addition, 26 Mobile X-Ray machines, costing N519.656 million are being installed at all our general hospitals across the State. Similarly, we have granted approval for the recruitment of more paramedic staff and special medical coordinators to ensure 24 hours service in our health facilities.”
The governor also promised that the Ayinke House Project, the abandoned maternity complex near the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, had been re-awarded to a contractor and would be completed within six months. On the proposed Lagos Medical Park, Ambode said expressions of interest had been received. “We will enter the phase of the project soon and at the end of this, Lagos State will become a key destination for medical tourism. All these have been painstakingly done to create better access to health services for all Lagosians.”
Ambode said he had laid down the foundation for the programmes of his administration. “You cannot run a four-year marathon at top speed from the onset. Like any other well-bred chief executive officer, CEO, I have put in place all the ingredients needed to run a successful race. We will continue to woo investors to Lagos. We are assisting businesses and creating a conducive environment for these investors to start business and employ our people. Our administration is committed to serving and rendering good governance. However, we need your support and cooperation to enable us delivers on our lofty programmes. I want to assure you that our programmes are well thought out and carefully designed to make life easier and better for all our citizens.
“Our vision is to make Lagos globally competitive in all sectors. We are on the way to building a Lagos that is safe, clean and prosperous. Lagos will become a land of opportunities offering prosperity for all as we surmount the challenges. With this vision in mind, we have set out to implement long-term plans and programmes that will lead Lagos on the path to becoming a truly competitive city-state.
“The results of our programmes will not become evident in the first quarter but soon enough Lagosians will feel the effects and buy into this vision. While we do our best, I implore you to fulfil your side of the social contract by performing your civic responsibilities always. Please pay your taxes willingly. If you do your bit, we can achieve all our set goals. The task ahead is enormous, but we must all resolve to do our best for this state. It is a collective prosperity that I seek for all Lagosians,” Ambode said.