Lagos Targets N50b Monthly IGR by 2019 as Debts Hit N874b

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By Dipo Olowookere

Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, has disclosed that the state government plans to achieve a monthly Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) of N50 billion next year.

He said at the moment, the state generates about N34 billion monthly from IGR, compared to monthly averages of N22 billion, N24 billion and N30 billion in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Addressing newsmen at the ministerial briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in office, the Commissioner expressed optimism that the target would be met by this administration.

According to him, this is based on the gradual improvements in the state’s economy.

“Notably, we are recording gradual improvement in our average monthly IGR in 2018 compared to the levels achieved in previous years due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the state’s economy.

“Based on our first quarter results, Lagos State has so far achieved an average monthly IGR of N34 billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of N22 billion, N24 billion and N30 billion in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively,” he said.

“The target we set for ourselves is N50 billion, but we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced, including people going to court and all that. Our commitment is not for now; it’s for the future of Lagos.

“We know it is a marathon, we would win some and we would lose some, but we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target.

“But, if we do not meet it this year, definitely there will be another year, but we believe we will succeed in that target we set for ourselves,” Mr Ashade said.

Speaking on the debt profile of Lagos State, the Commissioner said as at December 2017, the debt stock stood at N874.4 billion, comprising 48 percent local and 52 percent foreign.

He said that the debt service charge to total revenue ratio which was 17.61 percent, was still within the World Bank’s threshold of 30 percent.

According to him, the state government will continue to maintain positive credit rating, adding however, that a downgrade of Nigeria’s sovereign rating would lead to a corresponding action on Lagos’ international drawing rights.

“As Nigeria continues to improve on its credit rating, we will be able to achieve better rating as we currently have.

“This is because no amount of revenue generation, no amount of employment growth of Lagos State can make us surpass the sovereign rating,” he said.

He, however, said that the state government had taken strategic steps to help Nigeria improve on its ratings, including adhering to fiscal discipline, improved revenue generation and tradition of inclusive governance.

On federal transfers, he said since Lagos joined the league of oil-producing states, it had received N327 million oil revenue, comprising N197 million received in 2017 and N130 million in first quarter of 2018.

“Furthermore, we are in discussion with federal government toward obtaining refund for expenditure totalling N51 billion incurred by the state government on behalf of the federal government for infrastructure projects development in the state.

“We are optimistic of successful discussions that will result in the approval and payment of the amount owed to the state by the Federal Government,” he said.

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