2019: Senate set to ok N189bn INEC budget

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Invites NSA, IGP, DSS boss, others

As part of preparation for the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections, the Senate on Wednesday began move to give express approval to the N189, 207, 544, 893 requested by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

President Buhari, in his fresh letter to the National Assembly dated September 19 stated: “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 gesture.

“I therefore formally request that the total amount of N242, 445, 322, 600 requested by INEC and the security agencies, be considered for inclusion in my current request under the 2018 Appropriation Act”.

The President had earlier presented a budget proposal of N143.51 billion to the National Assembly for the conduct of 2019 polls, while noting that additional sum of N46billion contained in the total package of N189billion be reflected in next year’s budget.

Also, the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on INEC had approved N143.51billion request by Buhari for the conduct of 2019 general elections during the annual recess of the federal lawmakers and had its report submitted to the Senate yesterday prior to fresh request by the President.

Consequently, the senate president had on reception of the committee’s report by Senator Suleiman Nazif on INEC budget directed Committee on Appropriation chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje to urgently consider and submit Buhari’s fresh request on INEC today for consideration and approval.

Meanwhile at its meeting yesterday, the chairman of Appropriation Committee, Senator Goje noted that the main trust of the meeting was to consider INEC’s budget in addition to the source of funding.

“We are going to combine the report of INEC committee on the 2018 budget in addition to what President Buhari requested for 2019 and grant him the total amount”, he said.

Goje further said that the committee was granting Buhari’s request of N189billion to enable INEC conduct the 2019 election to be reflected in the 2018 budget, adding “the 2018 budget would be amended to accommodate the sum N189, 207, 544, 893 INEC budget”.

Meanwhile, the committee, he informed will be submitting its report on INEC (tomorrow morning) today before the Senate in plenary.

The committee, he said is inviting the National Security Adviser, Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS; National Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC; the Inspector General of Police and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS to come and defend their budget today with a view to submitting the report next week.

It would be recalled that Buhari had in his earlier letter to the upper legislative chamber read by the Senate president, in July explained that out of the N242, 445, 322, 600 requested to fund the 2019 general elections, N164, 104, 792, 065 will be sourced through virement in the 2018 budget, while the remaining balance of N78, 340, 530, 535 will be provided for in the 2019 budget.

Specifically, the breakdown of the cost of 2019 elections, shows that while INEC takes N189, 207, 544, 893; Office of the National Security Adviser gets N4, 281, 500, 000; Department of State Services receives N12, 213, 282, 455; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps take N3, 573, 534, 500; Nigeria Police Force collect N30, 541, 317, 432; and the Nigeria Immigration Service, N2, 628, 143, 320.

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