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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said his administration approved four more Pension Fund Administrators to boost the state’s pension processes and accord staff a wider range of options.
Ambode, who spoke Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Abesan, in Lagos West Senatorial District, said in August, N11 billion was released for the payment of pension arrears since 2010 and, in the succeeding months, bond certificates of the Contributory Pension Scheme had been presented to pensioners
The PFAs are: Premium Pension Managers Limited, Pension Alliance Limited, AIICO Pension Manager Limited and Fidelity Pension Manager Limited, bringing the number of PFAs approved by the state to 10.
The Governor said N12 billion had been saved in the first four months of his government.
”This has provided us with more funds to inject into capital projects and the initial funds to establish the Employment Trust Fund which we promised our youths.”
“Today, a major landmark of our administration is the reduction in the cost of governance. We want a lean government with quality service delivery,” he said.
It was the first edition of a quarterly town hall meeting Ambode was holding since he was sworn in on May 29th as the third governor of Lagos State since 1999.
The governor said that reducing the cost of governance was achieved through the re-alignment of the state’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs and restructuring of government.
He also reiterated his determination to be accountable for every revenue and expenditure of the state.
“Lagos State Government is proud to declare that it has consistently met its obligations, especially prompt payment of workers’ salaries without seeking any bailout from the Federal Government,” he said.
Ambode said his administration was poised to stabilize Lagos State’s finances through financial re-engineering and reviewing the state’s expenditure and revenue framework.
“We are presently reviewing our loans with our bankers with a view to restructuring them in order to free up funds for further infrastructural development,” he said.
In the health sector, Ambode said that his government had provided additional 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances – bringing the total number of the ambulances to 36 – at a cost of N145.240 million deployed in all the state’s ambulance points.
“We have also provided additional 26 Transport Ambulances at the cost of N257.4 million deployed across all our General Hospitals,” said Ambode.
“We have created Ambulance Points across the States for easy access to our people. The ambulance service can be reached by calling the Toll-Free Line 112.
“Our administration in the last three months has installed 22 power generating sets ranging from 350 –500 KVA as additional back-up sets across all our General Hospitals at the cost of N270 million to ensure 24-hour power supply.
“In addition, 26 Mobile X-Ray machines, costing N519.656 million are being installed at all our general hospitals across the State. Similarly, we have granted approval for the recruitment of more paramedic staff and special medical coordinators to ensure 24 hours service in our health facilities.”
The governor further promised that the Ayinke House Project, the abandoned maternity complex near the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, had been re-awarded to a contractor and would be completed within 6 months.
On the proposed Lagos Medical Park, Ambode said that expressions of interest had been received.
“We will enter the phase of the project soon and at the end of this, Lagos State will become a key destination for Medical Tourism,” he said.
“All these have been painstakingly done to create better access to health services for all Lagosians.”
He said that he had laid down the foundation for the programmes of his administration.
“You cannot run a 4-year marathon at top speed from the onset. Like any other well-bred Chief Executive Officer, CEO, I have put in place all the ingredients needed to run a successful race,” he said.
“We will continue to woo investors to Lagos. We are assisting businesses and creating a conducive environment for these investors to start business and employ our people. Our administration is committed to serve and render good governance.
”However, we need your support and cooperation to enable us deliver on our lofty programmes. I want to assure you that our programmes are well thought out and carefully designed to make life easier and better for all our citizens,” he added.