Saturday, May 23, 2009

‘You’re The Best Among Us’—Gov Jang Praises Fashola

May 22, 2009 13:35, 1,380 views
The rating of the Lagos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), went up another notch in faraway Jos, the Plateau state capital, where the Plateau state governor, General Jonah Jang (retd), declared him the best among his counterparts in the country.

Governor Jang, who was speaking while receiving his Lagos state counterpart, who paid him a courtesy visit, declared that, “I must say honestly that I rate you the best among us in terms of development in the states we preside over.” The governor, who noted that there is need for state governors to exchange official visits in order to learn from one another, also requested his visitor to consider extending an invitation to him to enable him pay an official visit to Lagos at a later date, to, in the governor’s words, “take a look at what you are doing.

“We should start paying one another state visits to learn from what each of us is doing. Irrespective of our different political parties, we have a lot to learn from one another, and I believe, it is not time for politics, as the president said, it is time to work for the nation,” Jang said. According to him, to work effectively for the nation and our different states, “we should be able to exchange ideas by paying one another official visits,” adding that he has already focused his eyes on the areas of revenue generation and security where he would like to tap from Fashola’s wisdom.

“I am watching your revenue generating system very carefully and we are trying to borrow from you by asking those who are working for you to come and look at our own state,” the Plateau state governor said. Also commending Fashola on the success of his security system in Lagos state, Jang declared; “Again, the former I.G., Smith, told me that he was chairman of the security system you set up and today we hardly hear of armed robbery in Lagos state. I agree again that this is what we have to learn from you, aside from physical development.”

Governor Jang, who said he spent 12 years in Lagos during his service years, recalled how difficult Lagos was then in terms of moving from one point to another, and commended his visitor for the tremendous transformation that Lagos state has recorded in many areas, especially in transportation and the environment. Wishing governor Fashola a happy period in the state, the Plateau state governor,, who noted that the National Economic Council (NEC) also has some top military officers as members, expressed delight that, with his wealth of experience as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Lagos state governor will impact on the council membership what democracy is all about.

Earlier in his remarks, governor Fashola told his host that he was in the state on the invitation of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, adding that, “I thought it would be an act of discourtesy to embark on a visit to that institution without extending courtesy to my brother, the governor of Plateau state.” Governor Fashola said the visit also afforded him the opportunity to congratulate his host and the people of Plateau state for the recent installation of the new Gbom Gwom Jos, which he described as “a most respected traditional institution.” Recalling that governor Jang could not attend the NEC meeting in Abuja, on Tuesday, because he was playing host to another very important institution that has helped foster religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the people, the Lagos state governor commended his host for the peace existing in the state.

State govt to transform Lagos into 'huge construction site'

In line with Governor Babatunde Fashola’s avowed commitment to rapid development of infrastructure, the many physical projects going on in Lagos have turned the state into a “huge construction site.”

This, according to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Ganiyu Johnson, was because the projects were spread across the 57 Local Government Councils and Development Areas, and were already impacting positively on the residents.

Speaking at the handing over of three roads in Lagos Mainland Local Government Council on Tuesday, Fashola commended the residents for promptly paying their taxes and showing great understanding in the relocation of structures, saying, these had helped in no small measure in the transformation efforts.

The roads, which were handed over to the community included Montgomery, Aje and Commercial Avenue in Yaba. The governor recalled with nostalgia the beauty of old Yaba, which became an attractive real estate haven and it played host to Nigeria’s emerging middle class immediately after independence.

The three roads formed the second phase of the infrastructural improvement of Yaba from Jibowu to Iddo, comprising 37 roads and six pedestrian bridges at strategic locations and divided into four phases.

Montgomery, Aje Streets and Commercial Avenue have a combined length of 1.51 kilometres and an average width of 10 metres, with the contract awarded to Messrs P. W. Nigeria Limited in February 2008.

The scope of work included relocation of telecoms, water and Power Holding Company of Nigeria services; demolition and replacement of wall fences; provision of longitudinal and transverse service ducts; and scarification and carting away of bad materials.

Others were earthworks with the use of geo-textile materials, provision of covered concrete drains and culverts to act as walkways, 100 millimetre asphalt surfacing, street lighting with alternative source of power supply and road signage/lane markings.

A day after the inauguration of the roads, it was the turn of the state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to present its scorecard for the past two years.

Johnson, who spoke at the 2009 ministerial press briefing of the ministry said that the government had committed a total of N91.96bn to construction of new roads and rehabilitation of existing ones as well as provision of other road infrastructure in the last two years.

Out of this figure, N61.96bn was budgeted for last year, while the balance of N30bn is for the year 2009, representing a drop of over 100 per cent in budgetary allocations for road infrastructure in the current fiscal year.

However, the government had given an assurance that the cut in budgetary provisions will not affect the rate of road construction and rehabilitation currently going on in the state and the provision of other road infrastructure like drainages and street lights.

The special adviser said that the government would rely on the private sector for assistance in sustaining the current pace of road works.

He said, “It is true that there is a drop in our budget for road construction and upgrading/rehabilitation, but I can tell you that the private sector will work with us to develop some of our road infrastructure under the Public-Private Partnership model. The government does not need to carry the burden alone.”

Giving a breakdown of the budget on roads for the period under consideration, Johnson said that about N14.4bn would be on upgrading and rehabilitating of road infrastructure in 2008, while N7bn would be spent for the same purpose in 2009. A total of N47.56bn was spent on fresh construction last year, while N23bn would be spent on road construction this year.

The special adviser said that between May 2007 and now, 63 road projects covering 70.35 kilometres were awarded for rehabilitation with 19 already completed and 59 ongoing.

Similarly, a total of 111.8 kilometres of roads and bridges was constructed in the period, translating into 56 awarded projects, out of which 11 had been completed, while 74 are ongoing.

A parastatal of the ministry, the Public Works Corporation, also completed rehabilitation work on 43 roads covering 7,985 kilometres within the same period.

Apart from road infrastructure, the ministry is also transforming the state’s magistrate and high courts by building new structures and furnishing them appropriately to enhance administration of justice.

It is also redesigning, constructing and rehabilitating all public buildings to meet present day challenges and is providing mini independent power projects to have a safe city through the provision of street lights.

Lagos Recovers N20Billion Tax From Defaulting Companies

May 22, 2009 14:25, 261 views
By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos state government is winning the war against non-payment of tax by companies in the state. It has recovered N20 billion unremitted tax from such companies.

The government lamented that several companies were not remitting tax deducted from their employees to the state government’s coffers. Mr. Tunde Fowler, Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, disclosed that the money was retrieved from the companies last year. He was optimistic that the state government would retrieve another N20 billion unremitted tax from defaulting companies this year. According to Fowler, the state is making positive impact in the drive to get the people pay tax, but was worried that despite sensitising the public about the need to pay tax, many employers did not remit employees’ tax.

He added that many companies were yet to supply the revenue agency with necessary schedules of tax payment on behalf of their employees, lamenting that only few companies had so far done so. Fowler stated that the schedule would make it possible for the revenue body to monitor tax payment and the actual amount that government was supposed to collect. He added that some organisations belonging to the federal government also engaged in this unwholesome habit of not remitting tax deducted from employees’ salaries. Fowler called on individuals, whose companies were not remitting their taxes to government’s coffers, to report the case to the agency for prompt action and assured them that their identity would not be disclosed.

Lagos Island And Beyond

Models Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford visit Lagos Island Maternity Hospital

Fashola Bans Congratulatory Adverts On 29 May

Fashola Bans Congratulatory Adverts On 29 May

May 21, 2009 14:30 (5 hours ago), 224 views
By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has banned all forms of adverts in the media to congratulate him on his second year in office.

Fashola, who spoke in Lagos, said anyone who wishes to congratulate him should donate to orphanages, police stations and other areas where the money could be used to better the lives of the people. The governor said it was not yet time to celebrate as there was still much work to be done to move the state forward to greater heights. “We have set high standards for ourselves and it is too soon to celebrate. There are so many things yet to be done, the Nigerian project, the Lagos state project are all work in progress.

“By way of celebration and congratulations, I take the view that anybody who feels that they want to support the government should spend money for adverts in a judicious manner, helping us to reach those places we have not reached,” the governor said. He stated that the people should use the money to impact on the lives of people near their homes, communities and schools where indigent students have only one set of uniform. He said they could also go to police stations that do not have generators and papers to work with and give money to them since the police protect the lives of the people in the society.

The Lagos state helmsman added that the people could also reach orphanages and underprivileged people in the state by cooking lunch, “and taking it to those places. That way, you would have congratulated us in a much more profitable manner”. On his message to Lagosians to mark the Democracy Day, Fashola expressed gratitude to them for supporting his government. “It has been a very humbling and inspiring experience. What we can do is to educate ourselves in ensuring that we do the best we can and fulfil our promises to the people.”