Buhari and Senate head for showdown over INEC budget


The relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate, may soon snap following the refusal by the upper legislative chamber to approve the N189 billion from Constituency Intervention Funds to fund the 2019 general elections.

Instead, the senate is insisting that the funds be sourced from Special Intervention Programme, captured in the service wide votes of the 2018 Appropriation Act.

President Buhari had in a letter to the Senate in July asked it to vire N242 billion from the N500 billion it inserted into its Constituency Intervention Funds, to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies conduct the 2019 general elections.

Before the senate embarked on its annual break in July, it failed to approve the funds. Its committee on INEC and Electoral Matters, however, held series of meetings with officials of INEC, where some grey areas were addressed.

The Suleiman Nazif-led committee, at the conclusion of its panel’s exercise, had said it was unwilling to approve the reduction of funds meant for the lawmakers’ constituency projects.

In another letter addressed to the senate and read on the floor on Wednesday, President Buhari insisted that the funds should be sourced from the Constituency Intervention Funds.

However, the senate Committee on Appropriations, which met on Wednesday to finalise work on the request, submitted its report, yesterday.

The report of the Appropriations Committee, which was adopted by the senate vired N144.746 billion from the Special Intervention Programme (Recurrent). It vired another N44.260 billion from Special Intervention Programme (Capital), totally N189 billion requested by INEC.

Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Danjuma Goje, while presenting the report, said: “The sum of N189 billion requested for the funding of the 2019 general elections should be vired from both recurrent and capital components of Special Intervention Programme captured in the service wide votes of the 2018 Appropriation Act and be added to the sum of N45.5 billion provided for INEC in the statutory transfers. This will bring the total budget of INEC in the 2018 budget to N234, 507 billion.”


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