- Submits report thursday
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Committee on Appropriation has recommended N189,207,544,890 to the Senate for approval for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to prepare and conduct the February 2019 general elections in the country.
This is at variance with N143.512,529,455 that the Senate Committee on INEC, headed by Senator Suleiman Nazif, had earlier recommended to the Senate for the same purpose.
The Appropriation Committee Chairman, Senator Danjuma Goje, told newsmen yesterday at the end of the committee meeting that the committee was recommending N189.207 billion budget estimate for 2019 elections to be conducted by INEC.
He said the committee’s recommendation was based on the recent request for Virement/Supplementary Budget from President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari had in a letter dated September 19 and read on the floor of the Senate yesterday by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, formally requested that N242.445 billion estimated by INEC and the security agencies be considered by the Senate.
Senator Goje said based on the content of the letter his committee decided to recommend N189.207 billion out of the total request of N242.455 billion.
He added that his committee will submit its report to the Senate at plenary today.
The Committee Chairman further said his Committee would also meet with the heads of security agencies on the forthcoming general elections.
According to him, “We have invited the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Service Chiefs, Director-General of Department of State Security (DSS), Inspector-General of Police and heads of para military organisations to come round with their estimates and defend the 2019 election budget proposals for their respective agencies accordingly.”
President Buhari had in the two-page letter requested for urgent consideration of the election budget estimate with a view to ensuring that the 2019 general elections are properly conducted.
The President said his latest request was informed by additional information made available to him by Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.
“When Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma, appeared before the joint committee of the National Assembly set up to consider my request, he was informed that the National Assembly would be willing to consider accommodating the total amount required for the funding of the 2019 elections as part of the virements of the 2018 Appropriation Act provided there was a specific request made by me,” the President further said.
President Buhari made reference to his earlier letter on the same issue dated July 11th where I indicated that INEC and the security agencies had indicated that their funding requirements for the 2019 elections would amount to N242.445 billion
“Of that amount, I have requested that N164.104 billion be accommodated in the 2018 budget by way of virement within the 2018 Appropriation Act whilst the balance of N78.340 billion should be considered by the National Assembly as part of 2019 budget”.
The Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC had in a letter dated August 30 and addressed to Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, said it was recommending N143.512 billion as budgetary allocation for the 2019 general elections after wide consultations with INEC.
The letter jointly signed by Senator Suleiman Nazif and Hon. Aishatu Dukku, and titled ‘Submission of Harmonised Report of INEC 2019 General Election Supplementary Budget Estimates’, gave a breakdown of the estimates to include N82.84 billion for recurrent core election expenses; N16.04 billion for recurrent elections administrative expenses; N34.10 billion for electoral capital expenditure and N10.15 billion for capital projects expenditure.