2019 elections: NASS prepares to submit report on INEC
The National Assembly joint Committee on INEC said it is ready to submit its report to the Committee on Appropriation for further actions.
Senate Committee Chairman Suleiman Nazif who made the disclosure on Friday in Abuja said the committee would meet to deliberate on what was presented to it and thereafter forward its report to the Committee on Appropriation for further action.
Nazif who was speaking when the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma and INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, appeared before the joint committee on INEC in Abuja on Friday however frowned at the viability of the separate budgets submitted to it by the executive and INEC.
“The issue in contention is that we have a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari of a Supplementary Budget of N143bn.
“Though, there is another N45bn which he said will be included in the 2019 Budget. When you put that together, you will get N189bn, which is what INEC also presented.
“So, there is no confusion in it. INEC did the right thing. INEC sent exactly the same thing.
“However, it is the source of funding that is the problem and that is why we invited you.
“The president said the balance of N45bn will be serviced from the 2019 budget and our concern is that election would have been over by then,” he said.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning Udo Udoma while clarifying the disparity said the amount INEC asked for is N189bn but when President Muhammadu Buhari considered the funding constraint, the budget office looked through the budget.
“We realised that there are aspects of this budget that will not be spent in 2018 but in 2019 and those elements were pushed to 2019 budget.
“I heard that one of your concerns is that the 2019 budget may not be passed in time to accommodate the N45bn.
“What I will like to say is that we will have no objection to your appropriating the full amount of N189billion, so that you do not have to reconsider for the 2019 budget.
“That will mean that we will not include the N45bn in the 2019 budget.
“Because the President has approved N189bn, should you wish to appropriate for the full amount now, the president will not have objection,’ he said.
Udoma explained that the president came in the form of Virement because of funding constraint so as not to increase the overall size of the 2018 budget.