Election budget: Senate acted in agreement with Presidency, says panel boss

[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu

Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, has explained that the Senate’s decision to rescind and revise the methods of funding of the supplementary budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, was done in good faith, after due consultation with the Executive.

Senator Ibrahim, in a statement yesterday, said, “on Tuesday, October 16th, the Senate had already passed the N242, 245, 050,100 virement request with the stipulation that it should be funded from the Service Wide Vote, but had to rescind, reconsider and reverse its position following pressure on members of the Appropriations Committee by the Executive Arm of government.”

Ibrahim, who is also a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, said: “The insinuations being peddled that the Senate single-handedly and unilaterally cut the budgets of critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is false,” adding that “such actions are uncharacteristic of this 8th Senate.”

The lawmaker further said: “The facts remain that on Tuesday, October 16th, the Senate approved a Report that stipulated that the supplementary funding for INEC and security agencies to conduct the 2019 election should be sourced from the Service Wide Vote of the Executive through virement. This information is out everywhere.

“However, the Executive came up with a counter-proposal that asked that the election be funded through both the Service Wide Vote and the budgets of 30 MDAs —on a pro rata basis. This is why, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, had to come up with a Motion to rescind, reconsider and revise the source of funding contained in the original approval granted by the Senate.”

“So, if you take a close look at the Senate’s Order paper of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, you will see that N121, 122,525,050, which represents half of the entire supplementary budget, was sourced from 30 MDAs chosen by the Executive, while the other N121, 122,525,050 was taken from the Service Wide Vote.”

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