Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Subscribe to newsletter

News Desk

Band A: “We don’t want 24 hours electricity anymore,” Obawole residents lament to NERC, EKEDC

"The increase is too much. They should take us back to Band B. We were not complaining," Mrs. Victor lamented to The Record.

What did Prince Harry and Megan Markle do in Lagos?

The couple visited Kaduna and, of course, ended their visit with a trip to Lagos, the centre of excellence, on Sunday, May 12.

Akanmu, UNILAG’s Best Graduating Student, named 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University

He is one of five Africans, and the only one from an African-based tertiary institution, to join the 2024 cohort.

Workers protest ‘unlawful sack’ of 391 Lagos Water Corporation staff

Members of the Amalgamated Unions of Public Corporations Civil...

LASEPA vows to improve air quality in Lagos

The Lagos State Environmental Monitoring Research Protection Agency on...

Annals Of Legislation

One year after: Key decisions taken by 10th Lagos State House of Assembly

The 10th Lagos House of Assembly was inaugurated on...

Land ownership issues: Lagos Assembly steps in with new bill

The Lagos House of Assembly is considering a Lagos...

State police: Lagos Assembly rejects IGP Egbetokun’s position

The Lagos State House of Assembly has kicked against...

Lagos Assembly to hold stakeholders’ meeting on Land grabbing

According to the resolution, the planned meeting would involve the state government, the police, the judiciary, traditional rulers and others.

Navigating Lagos

Nine highest-paying occupations in Lagos state

According to data from the Lagos government in 2021,...

Preserving Nigeria’s Legacy: Inside the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos

The National Museum Lagos boasts an extensive collection estimated at 47,000 objects, crafted from various materials including wood, ivory, metal, and terracotta.

Road rage: 342 accidents claim 22 lives in Lagos in first two months of 2024

Road rage: 342 accidents claim 22 lives in Lagos...

From ruins to restoration: Discovering the treasures in Freedom Park Lagos

I discovered that the park, located on a prime location in Lagos Island, had a historical past—it used to be a prison during Nigeria's colonial era.

Where to find co-working spaces in Lagos Mainland

As remote work continues to shape contemporary work culture, these spaces provide valuable solutions for those seeking flexibility, connectivity, and a dynamic work experience in Lagos.

Eko Lifestyle

Discover seven alternative Lagos beaches to Landmark, Oniru, others

Despite these alterations to the landscape of Lagos' coastal attractions, the state still boasts a plethora of breathtaking beaches waiting to be explored. At Ikeja Record, we have compiled a list of viable alternatives for you.

From ruins to restoration: Discovering the treasures in Freedom Park Lagos

I discovered that the park, located on a prime location in Lagos Island, had a historical past—it used to be a prison during Nigeria's colonial era.

Top 5 budget smartphones, as recommended by Computer Village vendors

  From communication and entertainment to productivity at work and...

Top exotic Spas for self-care in Ikeja

Spa treatments is a form of self-care which offer relaxation, stress relief, and physical rejuvenation, all of which contribute to overall well-being.

Best spot to eat authentic pounded yam in Lagos

The culinary gem nestled in the heart of Lagos not only offers meticulously prepared pounded yam but also embraces the rich tapestry of Yoruba culture in its aesthetics and ambiance.

The Political Scene

One year after: Key decisions taken by 10th Lagos State House of Assembly

The 10th Lagos House of Assembly was inaugurated on...

Is the storm over between Sanwo-Olu and Obasa? 

Is this renewed joviality in the best interest of Lagosians?

Three reasons why Lagos House of Assembly rejected Sanwo-Olu’s 17 commissioner-nominees

Beyond geographical and religious factors, the possibility of pending disagreements can not be ruled out.

What Ojodu residents want from LCDA Chairman Segun Odunmbaku

The residents made the requests following celebrations marking Segun Odunmbaku’s two years in office as Executive Chairman of Ojodu LCDA.

Who are the 39 people Sanwo-Olu nominated for his second-term cabinet?

The list came barely a day to the 60-day statutory deadline for appointment of cabinet members.

Persons Of Interest

Living with Lupus in Lagos: Misturah Owolabi shares her inspiring journey

“ Lupus is not a death sentence, it is a very manageable condition. Do not believe that Lupus is going to hinder you from achieving your goals.”

Lagos-based startup, Midddleman, is bridging trust and logistics gaps in the e-commerce world

Additionally, the co-founder shared that e-commerce companies can now send Yuan/CNY/RMB to their Chinese suppliers through Middleman.

‘I left Ibadan for Lagos to grow my career in tech and now I love the lifestyle offerings’ – Tech Sis

One year after this decision, she found it to be one of the best choices she has ever made. It opened more doors of opportunities that were unavailable to her in Ibadan.

Behind the Wheel: Pelumi Nubi opens up about London to Lagos solo drive

“ I wanted to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zone and do challenging stuff.”

Meet the man who swam across Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness on silent killer among Lagosians

During his first year at the university, he stumbled upon the swim team one evening and decided to join. It was there that he discovered his love for swimming and the fulfilment it brought into his life.

News Desk

Band A: “We don’t want 24 hours electricity anymore,” Obawole residents lament to NERC, EKEDC

"The increase is too much. They should take us back to Band B. We were not complaining," Mrs. Victor lamented to The Record.

What did Prince Harry and Megan Markle do in Lagos?

The couple visited Kaduna and, of course, ended their visit with a trip to Lagos, the centre of excellence, on Sunday, May 12.

Akanmu, UNILAG’s Best Graduating Student, named 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University

He is one of five Africans, and the only one from an African-based tertiary institution, to join the 2024 cohort.

Workers protest ‘unlawful sack’ of 391 Lagos Water Corporation staff

Members of the Amalgamated Unions of Public Corporations Civil...

LASEPA vows to improve air quality in Lagos

The Lagos State Environmental Monitoring Research Protection Agency on...

Annals Of Legislation

One year after: Key decisions taken by 10th Lagos State House of Assembly

The 10th Lagos House of Assembly was inaugurated on...

Land ownership issues: Lagos Assembly steps in with new bill

The Lagos House of Assembly is considering a Lagos...

State police: Lagos Assembly rejects IGP Egbetokun’s position

The Lagos State House of Assembly has kicked against...

Lagos Assembly to hold stakeholders’ meeting on Land grabbing

According to the resolution, the planned meeting would involve the state government, the police, the judiciary, traditional rulers and others.

Navigating Lagos

Nine highest-paying occupations in Lagos state

According to data from the Lagos government in 2021,...

Preserving Nigeria’s Legacy: Inside the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos

The National Museum Lagos boasts an extensive collection estimated at 47,000 objects, crafted from various materials including wood, ivory, metal, and terracotta.

Road rage: 342 accidents claim 22 lives in Lagos in first two months of 2024

Road rage: 342 accidents claim 22 lives in Lagos...

From ruins to restoration: Discovering the treasures in Freedom Park Lagos

I discovered that the park, located on a prime location in Lagos Island, had a historical past—it used to be a prison during Nigeria's colonial era.

Where to find co-working spaces in Lagos Mainland

As remote work continues to shape contemporary work culture, these spaces provide valuable solutions for those seeking flexibility, connectivity, and a dynamic work experience in Lagos.

Eko Lifestyle

Discover seven alternative Lagos beaches to Landmark, Oniru, others

Despite these alterations to the landscape of Lagos' coastal attractions, the state still boasts a plethora of breathtaking beaches waiting to be explored. At Ikeja Record, we have compiled a list of viable alternatives for you.

From ruins to restoration: Discovering the treasures in Freedom Park Lagos

I discovered that the park, located on a prime location in Lagos Island, had a historical past—it used to be a prison during Nigeria's colonial era.

Top 5 budget smartphones, as recommended by Computer Village vendors

  From communication and entertainment to productivity at work and...

Top exotic Spas for self-care in Ikeja

Spa treatments is a form of self-care which offer relaxation, stress relief, and physical rejuvenation, all of which contribute to overall well-being.

Best spot to eat authentic pounded yam in Lagos

The culinary gem nestled in the heart of Lagos not only offers meticulously prepared pounded yam but also embraces the rich tapestry of Yoruba culture in its aesthetics and ambiance.

The Political Scene

One year after: Key decisions taken by 10th Lagos State House of Assembly

The 10th Lagos House of Assembly was inaugurated on...

Is the storm over between Sanwo-Olu and Obasa? 

Is this renewed joviality in the best interest of Lagosians?

Three reasons why Lagos House of Assembly rejected Sanwo-Olu’s 17 commissioner-nominees

Beyond geographical and religious factors, the possibility of pending disagreements can not be ruled out.

What Ojodu residents want from LCDA Chairman Segun Odunmbaku

The residents made the requests following celebrations marking Segun Odunmbaku’s two years in office as Executive Chairman of Ojodu LCDA.

Who are the 39 people Sanwo-Olu nominated for his second-term cabinet?

The list came barely a day to the 60-day statutory deadline for appointment of cabinet members.

Persons Of Interest

Living with Lupus in Lagos: Misturah Owolabi shares her inspiring journey

“ Lupus is not a death sentence, it is a very manageable condition. Do not believe that Lupus is going to hinder you from achieving your goals.”

Lagos-based startup, Midddleman, is bridging trust and logistics gaps in the e-commerce world

Additionally, the co-founder shared that e-commerce companies can now send Yuan/CNY/RMB to their Chinese suppliers through Middleman.

‘I left Ibadan for Lagos to grow my career in tech and now I love the lifestyle offerings’ – Tech Sis

One year after this decision, she found it to be one of the best choices she has ever made. It opened more doors of opportunities that were unavailable to her in Ibadan.

Behind the Wheel: Pelumi Nubi opens up about London to Lagos solo drive

“ I wanted to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zone and do challenging stuff.”

Meet the man who swam across Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness on silent killer among Lagosians

During his first year at the university, he stumbled upon the swim team one evening and decided to join. It was there that he discovered his love for swimming and the fulfilment it brought into his life.

Lagos is spending big on infrastructure. But choking on debt.

Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented the 2024 budget to the House of Assembly on December 13, 2023. Credit: Babajide Sanwo-Olu / Twitter
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented the 2024 budget to the House of Assembly on December 13, 2023. Credit: Babajide Sanwo-Olu / Twitter

Earlier this year, the Lagos State Government launched the long-awaited Blue Line rail, connecting thousands of people between Marina and Mile 2. The project was announced with much fanfare and the state government implemented a 50 percent discount on all fares. 

“The Blue Line Rail is one of the rail projects designed to make Lagos a fully interconnected city and it will transform our city’s transport system,” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said at the time. The Red Line rail, a 37km route from Agbado to Marina, is expected to be launched next, as early as next year.

The rail projects are only a subset of the projects embarked upon by the Sanwo-Olu administration. The state has collaborated with the private sector to launch the Lekki Deep Sea Port. It has proposed and initiated plans to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge. Work has progressed on the Opebi-Mende-Ojota link bridge. In some ways, Lagos is a construction yard.

But all these projects cost money. According to the nonprofit BudgIT, Lagos witnessed a capital expenditure growth of 53.16 percent between 2021 and 2022. In 2022, the state government  budgeted N449.36 billion for capital expenditure. In 2023, that figure rose to N482.86 billion. The trend is expected to continue in 2024. 

While this may be commendable, the state’s debt is also ballooning. 

As of December 2022, BudgIT notes, Lagos was the state with the highest debt stock across the Nigerian federation with a total debt of N1.37 trillion. Of this amount, N807.21 billion was domestic debt while foreign debt was $1.25 billion (or N560 billion, if an exchange rate of N448 to $1 is adopted). Of course, based only on exchange rate depreciation, Lagos’ foreign debt has almost doubled. “The floating of the naira has placed Lagos  . . . in a very precarious fiscal position,” the analysts at BudgIT write.

These figures from the Lagos state government’s audited financial statements and BudgIT’s State of States report show the growth of capital expenditure and public debt.

Although they note that Lagos has better debt sustainability than some other states in Nigeria, “its debt-to-revenue ratio is creeping to unsafe territory, at 146.89 percent (the limit is 200 percent).”

In November 2022, the American credit rating agency, Fitch, downgraded Lagos’ Long-Term Foreign-and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’, following a similar downgrade for the entire country. But no one seemed to be paying attention to Fitch’s rationale for the downgrade, which includes a risk that the state, in the next few years, could return “lower-than-expected revenues, higher-than-expected expenditure or an unexpected rise in liabilities or debt-service requirements.” 

In fact, the state government appears to have continued to operate business-as-usual. In May 2023, the Sanwo-Olu administration said it had raised N134.8 billion in long-tenure bonds to boost key infrastructure projects across the state. The bond is part of a N1 trillion debt and hybrid issuance programme, according to a government statement.

One of the few voices that challenged the borrowing programme was Mr Funso Doherty, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2023 general election. Mr Doherty noted that the state continues to borrow heavily despite significant growth in tax revenues. More importantly, Mr Doherty argued, increased borrowing has not translated into “substantial overall advancement in human development indices and living standards of the people.” Mr Doherty stressed that Lagos has consistently ranked low in global ‘quality of life’ rankings. For example, in the 2023 Global Liveability Index report by the Economist Intelligence United (EIU), Lagos was ranked 170 out of 173 global cities. And that’s even an improvement. Between 2019 and 2021, Lagos had ranked 172, just behind war-torn Damascus, Syria.

“In my opinion, the government of Lagos State must transition from its existing, extractive model of governance,” Mr Doherty said. “This means dealing decisively with its self-serving hegemony which some call ‘godfatherism’, the activities of corrupt elements in public office and the civil service, pervasive conflicts of interests and dominant vested interests, all of which have created a wide gulf, over the last quarter century, between government’s use of the people’s resources and what the people of Lagos really need.

“If we fail to do this, it is certain that our resources will continue to be misdirected, diverted and misused; our future will be mortgaged through ever-expanding Government borrowing, our development over the next generation will remain tragically stunted and poverty will be widespread.”

The poverty is already palpable. Ahead of the yuletide, prices of food in Lagos markets are soaring at a rate many cannot afford. One mother of five said her family has dumped chicken and turkey for ponmo, shawa and kote fish. But Lagos government officials have not announced any reduction in spending.

To be sure, borrowing for capital spending is not the problem, but how judiciously the money is spent. For example, Governor Sanwo-Olu has said the rail projects will cost well over N100 billion but no one really knows how much the project has gulped since its initiation at the start of this century. Capital expenditure can have a positive impact on the economy both in the short and long term, but Lagosians must keep this government accountable or the debt will choke citizens to death while the politicians and their cronies fatten up.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Exit mobile version