Senate approves N189bn INEC’s elections budget
The Senate yesterday approved the sum of N189 billion for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2019 general elections.
The approval followed the adoption of the report of the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Sen Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe).
The N189bn, the Senate said, would come from the Service Wide Votes (SWV ) via virement of the 2018 budget, and not by cutting some projects as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Presenting the report before senators at plenary, Goje the committee recommended that the sum of N143.3bn and an additional N45.6bn be approved for INEC for the conduct of the elections, bringing the total to N189bn.
President Buhari had in July requested the Senate to approve the N143bn under the 2018 budget and N45.6bn under the 2019 appropriation.
However, the president sent another letter on Wednesday requesting that the amounts should be approved at once under the 2018 budget.
The appropriations committee’s report said the source of the fund would be virement from both recurrent and capital components of the Special Intervention Programme captured in the SWV in the 2018 budget.
The report indicated that the INEC annual statutory budget of N45.5bn should be added to the elections budget to bring the total amount allocated for the commission to N234.5bn.
Meanwhile, the joint appropriations committee of both the Senate and the House has referred the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Immigration Service to relevant committees to defend their own components of the elections budget.
From left: President Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, arrive for the opening ceremony of the 14th All Nigeria Editors Conference in Asaba yesterday