By Joshua Olalekan, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has clarified that of the N500bn Bond approved by the State House of Assembly, only N60b would be accessed by the state this year.
Reacting to comments generated by the move, the governor added that the bond was a pool fund that would span over a period of time and not just for the current appropriation year.
Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, the governor said that it was pertinent to clarify issues around the Bond Programme as it had been technically misrepresented in some section of the media.
Explaining the modalities, Ambode said that the state, since 2007, has had two Bond Issuance Programmes, adding that the one recently approved by the Assembly was the third and would run for a period of three to five years.
He said that for the current Appropriation Year, the State can only draw N60billion from the pool of N500billion, saying that the State would draw from the fund for subsequent years as approved by the House.
“Before you can actually even appropriate it in your budget, you need that programme and that programme was what was approved by the House.
“But in the appropriation of 2016, what is in the Appropriation Law for 2016 is just N60billion. So, it’s from this Programme that we are pulling out this N60billion. So, for next year’s budget, if the House approves for instance N80billion as bond, we don’t need to go back to the House again after they have approved that budget, you draw from that issuance programme and take another amount which is approved for 2017 budget.
“If they approve any amount for 2018 budget, you take from that pool of N500billion, which can take the next five to ten years. So it’s just a lump sum which you now draw down based on the authorization by the House. That is the technical explanation.
“It’s not as if the State wants to go and take another N500billion, it’s just a requirement by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) so that you follow the procedure on a yearly basis,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also assured that the N60billion Bond Programme approved for the current year would be used to accelerate the aggressive infrastructural development ongoing in the State.
He said the funds would be channeled towards the completion of the Ajah Flyover, Abule Egba Flyover, Pen Cinema Flyover, as well as the construction of more lay-bys, bus parks, improve health facilities and the building of more public schools among many other infrastructural projects.
He said that the financial arrangement of the State is such that Bond Programmes embarked upon are easily repayable through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), adding, “All we are just doing is to accelerate development for the future prosperity of Lagos.”
Governor Ambode also thanked members of the House of Assembly for approving the Bond, saying that their actions have also shown their passion and commitment to see the State make appreciable progress.