President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria’s 2019 general election would cost the government more than 242 billion Naira.
This followed a proposal submitted by President Buhari for Senate’s approval.
President Buhari’s proposal was contained in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki and which was read on the floor of the chamber at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday.
According to the letter dated July 11, 2018, it explained that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and Security agencies have submitted their requests in preparation for the 2019 general election.
Part of the letter proposed the sum of N164 billion to be provided for through virement or supplementary of the 2018 budget.
“I propose that the balance of N78 billion mostly related to personal allowances, fueling and other costs not required until election proper to be provided in their 2019 budget,” the letter explained.
A breakdown of the letter shows that, INEC has been allocated for the 2019 elections, the sum of N189 billion, Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA- N4.2 billion, Department State Security, DSS- N12.2 billion, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCD- N3.5 billion, Nigerian Police- N30.5 billion and Immigration-N2.6 billion.
President Buhari however shocked the National Assembly by asking the lawmakers to remove N228 billion from N578 billion appropriated for new projects inserted into 2018 budget.
According to him, “the total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the general election and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228.8 billion. Implementing a budget of N9.12 trillion for 2018 will be extremely challenging and therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size of the 2018 Expenditure Framework to fund these very important and critical expenditure items.
” I invite the distinguished Senate to consider, in the National interest, reallocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totaling N578 .3 billion to cover the sum of N228.8 billion required as noted above,”he said.
While signing the 2018 Budget in June, President Buhari had said that lawmakers inserted projects that did not reflect the focal projects worth N578 billion to which lawmakers defended.
The lawmakers insisted that their additions were to balance the budget and correct anomalies.
In another development, President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to some Bills was also communicated to the Senate on Tuesday.
Some of the Bills included, the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency, NCPEA Bill of 2018, recently passed by the National Assembly.
According to the President, the rationale for declining Assent includes;
(a) All the proposed duties and responsibilities of the proposed agency are currently the statutory responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs;
(b) The creation of the NCPEA may lead to the duplication of mandates of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, which would result in the wastage of scarce financial and other resources.
Also, President Buhari withheld his assent to “The Courts and Tribunals Standard Scale of Fines Bill of 2017,” stressing that “the proposed standard scale of fines appears to be ambiguous, as it does not clearly state the manner by which any given offence will fall under.”