The Senate, yesterday, approved a total sum of N189,207,544,893 for the conduct of the 2019 general election expenditure as proposed by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in supplementary budget.
According to the Senate, the approval became imperative to enable Nigeria prepare adequately for the elections.
Speaking at a meeting on the submission of harmonised report of INEC 2019 general election supplementary budget estimates of the Senate Committee on Appropriations in Abuja, yesterday, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central), explained that after an exhaustive debate on report of joint committee on INEC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest letter, the committee decided to approve the entire N189 billion election budget for INEC.
Goje explained that INEC was allocated N143,512,529,455 as recommended by President Buhari for the 2019 general election in 2018 budget, the balance of N45,695,015,438 was requested for appropriation under 2019 budget.
Goje, who noted that the decision was sequel to reasons adduced by the president in the latest letter, 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.”
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 Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to appear before it today.
According to Goje, the agencies have been invited to appear to enable them defend their budgetary allocations. He added that the committee, after wide consultations with INEC, decided on approval of the budgetary allocation.
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.