Nigeria’s Lagos Boosts Infrastructure Spend After Youth Protests

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Nigeria’s Lagos state plans to increase spending on infrastructure this year to repair the damage inflicted on the country’s commercial hub by violent protests in October, according to its 2021 spending plan.

Capital projects will get 60% of its proposed budget of 1.164 trillion naira ($3 billion) this year, which will be targeted at “massive infrastructure renewal and development,” Sam Egube, commissioner for budget and economic planning told reporters in Lagos on Thursday. “While we were recovering from the Pandemic, the EndSARS protests and the aftermath of its hijack took us back economically and socially,” he said.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer, slipped into recession in the third quarter as a lockdown to contain coronavirus and an oil slump shuttered businesses, most of which are located in the commercial hub. In addition, youth protests against police brutality turned violent in October, leading to large scale looting and destruction of public and private assets, whose claims on the insurance industry are said to be highest on record.

Lagos is determined “to rise above the challenges that have affected our development in the last 12 months,” Egube said. The state will meet expenditure plans this year through 971 billion naira projected revenue and deficit financing of 192 billion naira, via a 100 billion naira bond and the rest as loans, according to the state official.

Part of the capital spending is 24 billion naira intended for “Lagos smart city,” which will see the government deliver 3,000 kilometers of broadband fiber network as well as 2,000 “intelligent” cameras across the state to enhance security and traffic management, Egube said. The sum of 92.7 billion naira will go into rail and motor park projects to ease transportation, he said.

The government increased funding for the health sector by 9% to 106 billion naira this year to boost capacity to manage Covid-19 infections and other diseases successfully, according to the commissioner.

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