Deji Elumoye in Abuja and James Emejo in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission has disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari on the funding of the February 2019 general elections.
While President Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly on July 17 asked the legislature to approve the Virement of N143 billion for the immediate need of INEC while N46 billion will be provided for in the 2019 budget proposals, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, Wednesday requested for the approval of N189.207 billion being the total budget for the 2019 polls.
This is coming just as INEC has voted N31.49 billion for the printing of ballot papers and N6 billion for the feeding of policemen during next year’s general elections.
The INEC Chairman who appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC headed by Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North) in an answer to an observation on the disparity in the amount needed for the elections by Senator Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South) emphasised that N189.207 billion was the amount National Assembly should approve for INEC this year for the 2019 polls.
Senators Sola Adeyeye (Osun Central) and Atai Aidoko (Kogi East) also spoke in the same vein and wondered why the proposal of President Buhari on the funding of 2019 elections was at variance with that of INEC.
At this point, the Committee Chairman intervened and said there was the need to harmonise the position of President Buhari with that of INEC.
Senator Nazif therefore announced that both INEC team and the Senate Committee will meet today and harmonise their positions “and come up with a clear amount to be approved by NASS for the general elections”.
He added that his committee will sit till Friday to conclude its report on the INEC budget proposal for presentation to National Assembly leadership.
Earlier while summarising a 25- page 2019 general elections budget of INEC, Prof Yakubu gave a breakdown of the expenditure to include N134.427 billion for election operation cost; N27.503 billion for election technology cost,; N22.660 billion for election administrative cost while N4.614 billion which is a quarter of the total cost of the election was voted for miscellaneous expenses.
Further breakdown include N28.549 billion as honoraria for one million Ad-hoc staff; N4.689 billion for feeding of security and election personnel; N5.124 billion for nationwide continuous voter registration exercise; N6.125 billion for procurement of non sensitive materials and N4.361 billion for the printing of result sheets.