National Assembly Approves N143bn For 2019 Elections
NASS committee on INEC. Soucre: Channels TV.

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved N143 billion for the 2019 general election.

The committee adopted the amount which President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the legislature in July, after over one week of deliberation.

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But the committee refused to approve N45.6bn proposed to be vired from the 2019 budget.

Concise News recalls that the Nigerian President had, in his letter to the Senate, requested that N189.2 billion be released to INEC.

Buhari asked that N143.5 billion be released this year and N45.6 billion be released in 2019.

However, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in his presentation, demanded the entire N189.2 billion.

The commission’s request caused members of the committee to again deliberate on whether to grant INEC’s request or that of the president.

Concise News had reported earlier that the National Assembly joint committee failed to harmonise the divergent positions of the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, necessitating an adjournment for more consultations to be made.

While some members of the panel suggested that the entire N189 billion be approved as requested by the electoral umpire, others were of the opinion that approving the entire amount will be going against the president’s request.

On August 17, majority of the members including the chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, moved that the committee accepts INEC requests and refer it to the committee on appropriation to determine how the funding will be made.

On Monday, the Senator Nazif announced that N143 billion will be approved for INEC, after an executive session which lasted for about 40 minutes.

The committee chairman said the approval was in line with President Buhari’s request.

His words: “The joint committee sat and has come up with the resolution to adopt the N143 billion presented by Mr. President.

“It is also the wish of this committee that INEC then present their budget of N143 billion as requested by Mr. President.

“Therefore, INEC has an opportunity to prioritise and this committee is ready to receive them tomorrow.

“This committee will be reconvening tomorrow by 1 pm so that we can consider the presentation by INEC,” Senator Nazif said.

However, the committee chairman failed to mention when the other N45 billion will be approved for the electoral commission.

INEC is expected to review the budget earlier presented and present it before the committee on Tuesday.