John Ameh, Abuja
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters wound down its sitting on the budget for the 2019 elections on Thursday.
The committee had, on Tuesday, adopted N143.5bn as the budget for the polls and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to forward a breakdown for the sum.
After its meeting with INEC, the panel again reviewed the items in the budget, cutting the final figure down by N2002.2m.
It eventually endorsed N143.3bn for the polls.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the National Assembly to wind down the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif said the N143.3bn would be sent to the the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriations for further work and transmission to the Senate and the House for the final approval.
“The reviewed figures of N143.3bn, as reached in the recommendation of the Joint Committee, will be forwarded to both the the leadership and the Committee on Appropriations for further legislative consideration”, he said.
Nazif gave the report of the panel in company with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters, Mrs. Aisha Dukku.
The N2002.2m was cut from four sub-heads in the INEC budget.
While INEC originally budgeted N587.2m for “enlightenment forums”, the panel reduced N50.2m from the sub-head. It explained that political parties were already doing enlightenment for the 2019 elections.
For “election jingles”, the commission budgeted N471.9m, but the panel cut it by N71m.
Similarly, the sum of N50m was slashed from the N300m INEC initially provided for “training of continuous voter registration officials.”
On the “monitoring of elections in 2019”, while INEC budgeted N359.4m, the panel reduced it by N27m.
The committee went ahead to offer suggestions on other sources of funding the INEC, including “funding through virement from other Service-Wide Vote under the Special Intervention Programme, to ease consideration and avoid increase in the size of the 2018 expenditure.”