…Recommends funding from President’s N500bn security vote
…To ratify election budgets of security agencies next week
The Senate, on Thursday, passed election budget of N189,007,272,393 for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2019 general election.
But the lawmakers disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari on the source of funding the election.
They rejected proposal by the President that fund for the election be sourced from money allegedly inserted by the legislators for execution of constituency projects.
The lawmakers rather recommended that the 2019 elections should be funded from the security votes of the President, specifically, from both recurrent and capital components of Special Intervention Programmes captured in the Service Wide Votes of the 2018 Appropriation Act.
The Daily Times recalls that President Buhari had in July this year sent a letter to the National Assembly requesting that the 2019 election budget be approved in two tranches of N143 billion and N45 billion, making the total sum, N189 billion.
While he said that the N143bn should be approved this year, the remaining N45bn, he said, should be approved in 2019 budget.
The controversy that trailed the election budget when National Assembly was on break, may have prompted the President to send another letter in September 19, 2018 to the lawmakers, seeking the approval of the total sum of N189 billion for the election.
In the first letter dated July 11, President Buhari had requested that the election budget be taken from the N500bn inserted into the 2018 budget by the lawmakers.
During the debate at plenary on the report submitted by the Senate Committee on Appropriation, the upper chamber approved that the N189 billion election budget be sought from the security votes of the President.
In the report subtitled ‘Source of fund’, the Appropriation Committee recommended that “the sum of N189,007,272,393 requested for the funding of the 2019 general election should be vired from both Recurrent and Capital components of Special Intervention Programme captured in the Service Wide Votes of the 2018 Appropriation Act.”
The Appropriation Committee, in its report, explained that the total request of President Buhari for the election in his two letter is N242,445,322,600.00.
The lawmakers further explained that while N189bn is for INEC to conduct the elections, the remaining balance is meant for the security agencies for the conduct of the elections.
The breakdown of the balance shows that the budget for Office of the National Security Adviser is to get N4,281,500,000.00, Department of State Services – N12,213,282,455.00, National Security and Civil Defence Corps – N3,573,534,500.00, Nigerian Police Force -N30,541,317,432.00 and Nigerian Immigration Service – N2,628,143,320.00.
Meanwhile, the Appropriation Committee is expected to present to the committee of the whole on Tuesday, its recommendations for election budgets of security agencies.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, disclosed this at a meeting of the committee on Thursday to consider budget proposals of security agencies for next year’s election purpose.
He urged the agencies to submit their comprehensive budget proposal to three different appropriate joint committees of both chambers- Security and Intelligence, Police and Interior.
Goje added that reports of the three different sub- committees will be harmonised and submitted before the whole house at plenary next Tuesday.
At the meeting were directors general of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Fire Services and State Security Services while the Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were represented at the meeting.