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Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that as from January, pupils in public primary schools in the state will be fed once a day free of charge.

He also revealed that as part of his administration’s plans to kick illiteracy out of the state, his administration will next year distribute what he called “Ibile” tablets to pupils in public schools in Lagos State.

Gov. Ambode announced the “A-Meal-a-Day” programme in public primary schools, when he presented the 2016 “Peoples budget” plan to the House of Assembly yesterday.

Presenting a budget proposal of N662.58 billion, the governor said funding of the programme will be done in collaboration with the Federal Government, which will provide 60 per cent of the funding.

“This programme promises not only to improve the daily nutrition of our children, It will also create an economy of its own, with opportunities for job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, and so on”, he said.

Ambode said the government’s intervention in education will continue in the areas of maintenance of public school buildings and facilities, and provision of basic instructional materials.

He also said government will provide free textbooks for schools and mandatory capacity building programmes for teachers in public schools.

“We intend to launch an advocacy programme ‘Kick Illiteracy out of Lagos’, starting from next year.
“I am happy to inform you that in 2016, we will develop our e-curriculum, leading to the distribution of Ibile tablets to pupils in our public schools”, he said.

Ambode said revolution at the secondary school level will set a new standard in the educational system, which will enhance the knowledge of the children, to enable them compete effectively with their peers in developed countries.

Other areas to be addressed in the 2016 by the Ambode administration include transportation, security, health, housing, roads, environment and agriculture, which will see the state invest more in fish production at the Ayobo Fish Farm Estate at Alimosho and establishment of an Agric Park, among others
Giving a breakdown of the budget, Ambode put recurrent expenditure at N278,909 billion and capital expenditure N383,678 billion, which represents capital to recurrent ratio of 58:42 per cent as against 51:49 in 2014 and 2015.
He also put the total revenue estimate at N542.873 billion, adding that the balance of N119.714 billion would be funded through deficit financing, constituting 0.41 per cent of the GDP and a cumulative debt to GDP ratio of about three per cent.

On the size of the budget,  Gov. Ambode pointed out that N120,508,571,598 was earmarked for General Public Services (18.19 per cent); N28,559,021,841 for Public Order and Safety (4.31 per cent) and Economic Affairs N211,043,408,183 (31.85 per cent).

Receiving the budget, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, commended the governor for procuring security equipment to combat insecurity in the state, just as he assured that the budget proposal would receive the necessary input of the House.

Dignitaries present at the budget proposal include former speakers of the House of Assembly including Rt Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Jokotola Pelumi, National Assembly members, members of the State Executive Council, traditional rulers, and religious leaders, among others.