By Oladisun Amosun
The National Assembly joint committee on electoral matters perusing the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC budget has recommended to the leadership of the NASS the Committee’s on Appropriation to source the funding of the recommended amount of N143.312.256.955.13 (one hundred and forty three billion, three hundred and twelve million, two hundred and fifty-six thousand, nine hundred and fifty-five natural, thirteen Kobo only budget through vihrement from the Service-wide votes under the special intervention programme.
Chairman of the joint committee Sen. Suleiman Nazif who stated this Thursday at a newsbriefing in Abuja said this would avoid increase in the size of the 2018 expenditure frameworks.
He added that “Having considered the first component of the harmonized report of the INEC 2019 general election budget, all contentious issues are now put to rest and Nigerians can be rest assured that INEC is effectively positioned to provide free, fair and credible elections, devoid of contentions to Nigerians.
The joint committee knocked-off a sum of N50.27m from INEC’s proposed figure for grassroots enlightenment forums and outreach activities in the local government areas, explaining that political parties are already involved in the sensitization exercise.
Similarly, N50m was yanked-off funds requested for by the Commission to conduct training for continuous voter registration at all levels, arguing that some amount had been earmarked for same in the 2018 budget.
Another N71m was deducted from the amount requested for the production and airing of election jingles while N29m was taken off monitoring of next year’s general elections for regulatory compliance.
Sen. Nazif said with a total deductions of N200.27m from the proposed N178.27b INEC budget, the committee’s recommendations, if given the nod by both chambers of the NASS, will represent the first tranche of the fund needed by the commission to prosecute the elections.
He added that the NASS would be ready to accommodate a supplementary budget from the electoral body if the need arises and this would be considered in the2019 budget.