The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has requested from the National Assembly a total sum of N305billion as projected expenditure for the 2023 polls. Chairman, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said this when he met Senate Committee on Appropriations. According to Yakubu, about N100 billion out of the N305 billion earmarked for the Commission has already been released to the Commission leaving a balance of N205billion.
Senator Jibrin who had an interactive session with Journalists after the budget meeting with INEC, said that with the 2022 budget proposal of INEC now captured, the panel would lay the report of the 2022 Appropriation Bill and “it will be considered and passed same day by the Senate.” Senate Committee on Appropriations had in view of the 2023 general elections, invited the INEC Chairman to table before it, projected expenditure for the election for the purpose of capturing it in the 2022 budget billed for passage by both chambers of the National Assembly. The INEC Chairman who said that the N305 billion is different from the N40 biilion yearly budget of the electoral body and that though N100 billion had been given the Commission out of the total projected expenses but would not be enough for adequate preparation. Earlier, Yakubu attributed his inability to defend the budget proposal of the agency last week to his participation in an international assignment. He said “I was out of the country, we had a network of chairmen of Electoral Commissions in West Africa and we hold our general Assembly once in every two years. So I could not be here personally.
“The fact that this Committee suspended the consideration of the budget in order to hear from the Commission has excited us a lot and we are most grateful indeed. The Commission made a submission through the executive, we are an executive body. We made proposal to the National Assembly through the executive. We made a submission for the sum of N305billion for the 2023 General Elections. It is a very comprehensive 22 page document with 260 budget lines. In submitting the executive proposal to the National Assembly, the sum of N140 billion was made available to INEC as a one line item in the budget and as usual we broke it down and submitted same to the committee that oversights INEC in both the House and the Senate. The N140billion was broken into two, we take it that N40 billion is our regular budget as an agency of Government and N100 billion was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly. For the N40 billion annual budget, included in that are also elections that we are supposed to conduct particularly off-season elections. It may interest the Committee to know that we have eight bye-elections pending made up of three Federal Constituencies and five State Constituencies.