Lagos govt says impact of COVID-19 Pandemic will be Minimal

Nigerian Concord

Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube has said that the impact of COVID-19 on the State’s economy will be very minimal, assuring residents that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration has developed a holistic plan to ensure that Lagos thrives during and beyond the crisis.

Egube, who gave this assurance on yesterday, while giving an account of the activities and achievements of the Ministry at the Press briefing to commemorate the first anniversary of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office, stated that despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Lagos was able to realise strong budget performance with greater revenue than planned in the first quarter of Y2020.

He informed that the first quarter of Y2020 recorded a budget performance of 56% (₦163.2Bn), which in absolute terms is higher than the 68% (₦148.3Bn) recorded for the same period in 2019, stressing that the downside risk from the crisis necessitated a 21% reduction in the go-forward budget size.

He added that plans already put in place to neutralise the adverse effects of the pandemic on the economic planning activities of the State include the development of a strong pandemic response that would focus on food security, economic intervention and public safety.

The Commissioner said that the government will also “Restart the Lagos State economy by focusing on job creation, economic stabilisation and fiscal consolidation, in addition to re-imagining the way Lagos operates, focusing on digitisation, business environment reforms and economic diversification”.

Revealing that the Ministry will, going forward, harness public and private investment to create a strong mixed-sector economy, noting that the strategy will create the base for expanding social services and environmental stability.

In his words, “We are going to build efficient power, effective mass transit systems, access to potable water and key infrastructure to support a growing economy and achieve social progress”.

“We also intend to provide for a well-educated and healthy population as a requirement for ensuring a dynamic, progressive, social and economic environment; create sound systems, regulations and public participation to maintain a healthy and sustainable environment; and contribute to overcoming the environmental deficit and future challenges posed by climate change”, he added.

While highlighting other activities embarked upon within the period under review, the Commissioner informed that the Ministry introduced the ‘T.H.E.M.E.S’ Peer Review Mechanism (TPRM) to assess and monitor the relative performances of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State Government to the policy direction of the present administration.

He recalled that the T.H.E.M.E.S acronym was coined as a policy direction for all government interventions under the leadership of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, restating that the acronym stands for; Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century; Entertainment and Tourism; Security and Governance.

“The Governor also inaugurated the Lagos State Resilience Committee during the period under review and the Ministry performed a preliminary assessment of the State and also developed the Lagos Resilience Strategy. The initiative is aimed at improving the resilience of the State and its ability to bounce back from adversity”, Egube said.

The Commissioner also disclosed that the Ministry, under his supervision received two laurels at the World Bank awards tagged: “The Nigeria Portfolio Performance Awards” – the Overall Best for Quality of Brief for the New Administration of the Ongoing Nigeria Portfolio and the Lagos Urban Transport Project Award for visible impact and closure.