National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission has recommended N143 billion for approval for the commission’s preparation for the 2019 general elections.
This is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on July 11 when he requested the legislators’ approval of N242 billion for the elections.
Specifically, he said that N164.10 billion of the funds was urgently needed to enable the arrangements for the elections to commence, while the balance of N78.34 billon would be provided for in the 2019 Budget.
The president had in his letter of request explained that the urgently needed N164 billion would be allocated as follows: INEC, N143.51 billion; Office of National Security Adviser, N3.86 billion and Department of State Services, N2.90 billion.
Others are Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, N1.85 billion; Nigeria Police Force, N11.46 billion and Nigeria Immigration Service, N530.1million.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, told newsmen at the end of the committee’s meeting in Abuja on Monday that the committee had adopted the president’s allocation of the funds, especially as needed urgently.
Consequently, the committee directed Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to re-present the budget on Tuesday to reflect the new figure.
He said: “The joint committee has sat and deliberated on the position to adopt the N143 billion as presented by the President.
“It is also the wish of this committee that INEC re-presents their budget of N143 billion as requested by the president.
“INEC has the opportunity to re-prioritise and this committee will be ready to receive their report tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The committee will be reconvening tomorrow by 1 O’clock so that we can consider the presentation by INEC.”
The Senate Committee on INEC had on August 16, queried the commission for presenting a budgetary proposal of N189 billion for the elections, saying it was at variance with the request of the president for the polls.
This was because, though Buhari had in his letter requested for N189 billion for the 2019 elections, he said that N143 billion was urgently needed by INEC to begin preparations for the polls.
The money is expected to be vired from the 2018 Budget, especially from the N587 billion, which the president said was inserted by the lawmakers into the budget, raising from N8.6 trillion to 9.12 trillion.