Senate Set for Showdown with Executives over INEC Budget

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The Senate in session
  • Approves N189bn for 2019 elections
  • Vires fund from SIP

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate appears to be heading on a collision course with The Presidency over the funding of the N189 billion approved for the 2019 elections as the upper legislative body yesterday vired the money from N500bn Special Intervention Programme approved in the N9.12 trillion 2018 budget .

President Muhammadu Buhari had in separate letters of request for virement of money for INEC budget for the conduct of the 2019 general elections urged the National Assembly to source the election funds from the N578bn special votes inserted into the budget by the federal lawmakers for execution of about 1,403 additional projects included in it.

But the Senate in its adoption of the five-page report of its Committee on Appropriation, which sought approval for the virement, vired the N189bn from the N500bn earlier appropriated for Special Intervention Programmes proposed by the executive in the 2018 budget.

The Committee headed by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) in its recommendation under source of funding advised, “That the sum of N189, 007,272,393bn requested for the funding of the 2019 general elections should be vired from both recurrent and capital components of Special Intervention Programme captured in the service wide votes of the 2018 Appropriation Act”

The committee in the adopted report, which was not endorsed by five Senators out of the 19-man committee namely Senators Sunny Ogbuoji, Barau Jibrin, Adedayo Ibrahim, Tayo Alasoadura and Mohammed Hassan, recommended further that N45.5billion provided for INEC in the statutory transfers should be added to the vired N189bn, which makes the total budget profile of INEC in the 2018 budget to N234,507, 272,393billion .

Specifically the committee in the adopted report, emphasised that while N144.7bn will be vired from N350bn recurrent component of the Special Intervention votes , the remaining balance of N44.2bn will be vired from N150bn capital component of the Special Intervention Programmes votes.

Also yesterday, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriation met with heads of security agencies having budget estimates for the 2019 elections with a view to approving the N53.6bn proposed for them thereby raising the entire budget for the 2019 general elections to N242.445bn.

The breakdown of the N242bn cost of 2019 elections, shows that while Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) takes N189,207,544,893.00bn , Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), takes N4,281,500,000.00bn; Department of State Security (DSS), N12,213,282,455.00bn; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps N3,573,534,500.00bn; Nigeria Police Force, N30,541,317,432.00bn; Nigeria Immigration Service N2,628,143,320.00bn .

The Joint Committee Chairman, Goje, in a brief opening remarks directed heads of the affected security agencies to meet with leadership of standing committees over sighting them for the defence of their projected election budget.

“The Chairmen of Security and Intelligence, Police and Interior Committees will go to their various offices at the Senate Building with the heads of the affected security agencies and meet with a view to harmonising the various budget proposals before passing them to the main Appropriation Committee

“Having recommended and saw to the passage of the N189bn INEC component of the N242.445bn 2019 elections budget, the balance of N53bn projected for affected security agencies will be considered between now and Monday for required approval by both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday”, the Joint Committee chairman further said.