Lagos State Commissioner of Information, Gbenga Omotoso, and Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Ope George provided insights into the recently released 2023 Lagos Procurement Budget.
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo Olu received criticism of frivolous spending in the state budget after the recently published 2023 Lagos Procurement Budget, which contained items like N7.5 million to replace liquid fragrance in governor’s office and up to 440 million on a bulletproof vehicle. Additionally, Labour Party Guber candidate Gbadegbo Rhodes-Vivor claimed that the governor used funding from the state treasury to pay off his personal legal fees.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Tuesday, Ope George stated that the aim of publishing the budget was to strive for accountability and transparency explaining that each classification was openly explained in a reply to Mr. Funso Doherty.
Adding to the statement he explained that the Lexus LX Bulletproof vehicle was assigned for transportation of dignitaries, not for the Chief-of-Staff.
“The Lexus Lx 600 SUV was budgeted for the office of the Chief of Staff and not for his personal use. It is meant to receive dignitaries visiting Lagos.
“There are certain specifications that need to be followed when purchasing these vehicles but we also purchased certain vehicles from Volkswagen in Nigeria so we do support local vehicles and manufacturers.”
Also in the interview, Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso said allegations against the governor concerning payment of lawyers using funds from the state Treasury were false adding that the aim was total transparency and there was no room for uncalculated spending.
“I say categorically that there was nothing like that. It’s all false; fake from incredible sources.
“A document was prepared for this but Gov. Sanwo-Olu did not approve it because he knows the implication. Anybody who has proof that government money left the treasury as legal fees for Gov. Sanwo-Olu should come public.”
Both commissioners stated that focus should be taken off the label of each item and focus should be put on the elaboration of each one. They stated that the governor paid more attention to social attention through skill acquisition, and other means.
They also highlighted that majority of funding set aside for renovations were mainly pumped into renovation and maintenance of tourist attractions such as the Saint Andrews Anglican Church and the Palace of Iduganran palace.
The commissioners assured that the procurement website will remain in the public domain to maintain the state government’s openness and expressed that they are open to opposition criticism to allow effectiveness in their work.
“Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at his inauguration reeled out his desire to work with the opposition, Mr. Funso Doherty’s background as an accountant makes him a good fit for Chairman of the Board of the Lagos State Procurement Agency.”