The Senate, Wednesday, approved N189,207,544,893 for expenditure on the conduct of the 2019 general elections as proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in supplementary budget.
The Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, APC, Gombe Central in Abuja, explained that the committee decided to approve N189 billion elections budget for INEC after an exhaustive debate on report of joint committee on INEC and President Buhari’s latest letter.
Goje who spoke at a meeting on the submission of harmonised report of INEC 2019 general election supplementary budget estimates of stated that INEC was allocated N143,512,529,455 as recommended by President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 general election in 2018 budget, the balance of N45,695,015,438 was requested for appropriation under 2019 budget.
Noting that the decision was sequel to reasons adduced by the President in the latest letter, Senator Goje said: “This committee has approved the entire N189 billion elections budget INEC proposed for the 2019 polls which will be tabled on the floors of both chambers today for final approval.
“The other components of the N242 billion the President requested to be vired in the 2018 budget for conduct of the 2019 general elections will be considered today after meeting heads of the affected security agencies, such as the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungono, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Director General of Department of State Services etc.”
According to him, the committee granted Buhari’s request of N189billion to enable INEC conduct the 2019 election to be reflected in the 2018 budget.
He also said that “the 2018 budget would be amended to accommodate the sum of N189,207,544,893 INEC budget.”
A breakdown of the N242 billion cost of 2019 elections shows that while Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, takes N189,207,544,893 billion , Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, takes N4,281,500,000 billion; Department of State Security, DSS, N12,213,282,455 billion; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, N3,573,534,500 billion; Nigeria Police Force, N30,541,317,432 billion; Nigeria Immigration Service, N2,628,143,320 billion.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Appropriations has summoned the Inspector General of police, National Security Adviser, NSA, Director of DSS; Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, to appear before it today.
According to Goje, the agencies have been invited to appear to enable them defend their various budgetary allocations.
He added that the committee, after wide consultations with INEC, decided on approval of the budgetary allocation.
The Senate committee will lay the harmonised INEC budget report at plenary Thursday.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 11, 2018, requested from the Senate an approval of the total sum of N242,445,322,600 to fund the 2019 general elections.