he Senate yesterday approved the sum of N189,207,544,893 as budgetary allocation to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, announced this yesterday during a meeting on the submission of harmonised report of INEC 2019 general election supplementary budget estimates.
The Senate committee will lay the harmonized INEC budget report at plenary today (Thursday).
Goje explained that INEC was allocated the sum of N143,512,529,455 as recommended by President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 general election expenditure as the amount needed for 2018, while the balance of N45,695,015,438 was requested for appropriation under 2019 budget.
LEADERSHIP recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on 11th July 2018, requested from the Senate an approval of the total sum of N242,445,322,600.00 to fund the 2019 general election.
Buhari’s request was contained in a letter addressed to the National Assembly which was read by the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
Buhari had explained that out of a total of N242,445,322,600.00 requested to fund the 2019 general election, the sum of N164,104,792,065.00 was to be sourced through virement in the 2018 budget, while the remaining balance of N78,340,530,535.00 was to be provided for in the 2019 budget.
Specifically, Buhari stated that INEC would be allocated N189,207,544,893.00; Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), N4,281,500,000.00;
Department of State Services (DSS); N12,213,282,455.00; Civil Defence, N3,573,534,500.00; Nigeria Police Force, N30,541,317,432.00, and Nigeria Immigration Service, N2,628,143,320.00.
However, the federal lawmakers had proceeded on annual recess from July and was unable to consider and approve the supplementary budget.
Yesterday, a new letter by Buhari to the Senate seeking approval for funding of the 2019 elections with the sum of N242,445,322,600 was read by Senate President Bukola Saraki in plenary.
The President, in the letter dated September 19, 2018, said: “You may recall that in my letter dated 11th July, 20189 I requested for the kind consideration of the National Assembly for a virement under the 2018 appropriation Act.
Part of this request was for the funding of the requests made by INEC and security agencies for the 2019 general elections.
“When the minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, appeared before the joint committee of the NASS set up to consider my request,
he was informed that the NASS would be writing to consider accommodating the total amount required for funding of the 2019 elections as part of the virements of the 2018 Appropriation Act, provided there was a specific request made by me.
“In the light of the current realities, and in order to ensure that the 2019 general elections are not affected by any delays in the passage into law of the 2019 Budget, I accept this kind suggest.
I, therefore, wish to formally request that total amount of N242,445,322,600.00 requested by INEC and the security agencies be considered for inclusion in my virement request under the 2018 Appropriation Act.”
Meanwhile, the Senate committee on appropriation yesterday invited the inspector-general of police, the national security adviser (NSA), the DG of DSS, comptroller-general of Nigeria Immigration Service, and the commandant-general of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to appear before it today.
While making the announcement, Senator Goje said the agencies were invited to come and defend their various budgetary allocations.
There are strong indications that some lawmakers may work against the ratification of INEC budget when it would finally be presented in plenary today by the appropriation committee.