The National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has recommended the sourcing of funds for 2019 General Elections from Service Wide Votes.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, made this known at the committee meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the suggestion for the budget to be vired from the Service Wide Votes under the Special Intervention Programme (Recurrent) was to ease consideration and avoid increasing the size of the 2018 Expenditure Framework.
Nazif also disclosed that the committee reviewed the INEC Budget from N143.5 billion to N143.3 billion, explaining that the committee reduced some line items in the budget by N200 Budget.
He said that N50 million was deducted from N587 million for grassroots enlightenment forum and outreach activities in local government areas.
He explained that the deduction was made in view of the fact that political parties were already involved in sensitization.
The chairman also said that N71 million was deducted from N471 million meant for production and airing of election jingles.
He said the National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information were already doing that, adding that INEC did not have to burden itself with that.
He further said that N50 million was deducted from N300 million meant for training of Continuous Voter Registration officials, adding that the training was already captured in the 2018 Budget.
Nazif also said that N29 million was deducted from N359 million meant for monitoring of the general elections for regulatory compliance.
According to him, the deduction was made because arrangement on monitoring has been concluded, adding that compliance was assured.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC had adjusted its budget for 2019 elections from N189 billion to N143 billion in line with recommendation of the National Assembly.
Following adjustment of the budget, Nazif, told newsmen that a sub-committee had been set up to look at the proposal and to point out any area of infraction to the committee.
The committee had on Aug. 27, recommended N143 billion for approval for the commission’s preparation ahead of the general elections.
This was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on July 11 when he sought the legislators’ approval of N242 billion for the elections.
Specifically, he said that N164.10 billion of the funds was urgently needed to enable INEC to commence preparations for the elections, while the balance of N78.34 billon would be provided for in 2019 Budget.
The President had in his letter of request explained that the urgently needed N164 billion would be allocated as follows: INEC, N143.51 billion; Office of National Security Adviser, N3.86 billion and Department of State Services (DSS), N2.90 billion.
Others are Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, N1.85 billion; Nigeria Police Force, N11.46 billion and Nigeria Immigration Service, N530.1million.
The Senate Committee on INEC had on Aug. 16, queried the commission for presenting a budgetary proposal of N189 billion for the elections, saying it was at variance with the president’s for the polls.
This was because, though Buhari had in his letter requested for N189 billion for the 2019 elections, he said that N143 billion was urgently needed by INEC to begin preparations for the polls.
The money is expected to be vired from the 2018 Budget, especially from the N587 billion, which the president said was inserted by the lawmakers into the budget, raising it from N8.6 trillion to 9.12 trillion.