INEC to spend N305bn on 2023 elections

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…Confirms release of N100bn by FG

By Abimbola Abatta and Uthman Salami

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the Commission would require N305 billion as projected expenditure.

According to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the projected expenditure is different from the N40 billion yearly budget of the Commission.

Yakubu noted that N100 billion out of the N305 billion earmarked for the elections has already been released, remaining a balance of N205 billion.

He disclosed the above yesterday when he appeared before the Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North) led Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Recall that in view of the 2023 general elections, the Senate Committee on Appropriations had invited the INEC Chairman present projected expenditure for the election.

This was aimed at capturing the projected expenditure in the 2022 budget billed for passage by both chambers of the National Assembly today.

The INEC Chairman, who explained that the N305 billion is different from the N40 billion annual budget of the electoral body, said that while N100 billion had been released out of the total projected expenses, it would not be enough for adequate preparation.

In his words, “The Commission made a submission through the Executive being part of the Executive body.

“We made a submission for N305 billion for the 2023 general elections in a very comprehensive 22-page document with 260 budget lines.

“In submitting the Executive proposal to the National Assembly, N140 million was made available to INEC as a one-line item in the budget.

“As usual, we broke it down and submitted same to the committee that oversights INEC in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“The N140 billion was broken into two; we take it that N40 billion is our regular budget as an agency of government and N100 billion is the first tranche of the 2022 budget.

“We have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly.

“The N40 billion annual budget is made up of expenditures for particularly off-season elections.”

He noted further that “It may interest the committee to know that we have eight bye-elections pending; three federal constituencies and five state constituencies.

“In fact, the last vacancy occurred only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Jiwa West in Kaduna State.

“What we have done is to look at the activities that we have to conduct before the general elections.

“There are activities that must be concluded. If you are going to replace some of the critical facilities like ballot boxes and voting cubicles, these things must be done before the elections.

“Party primaries must be conducted and concluded before the general election and names of candidates submitted, registration of voters would have to be concluded before the elections.

“Printing of Permanent Voter Cards would have to be concluded before the elections and some of the critical election technology must be concluded and procured before the elections,’’ the INEC Chairman added.

On his part, the Senate disclosed that it would consider and pass the 2022 Appropriation Bill today.

Speaking with journalists yesterday, Senator Jibrin said the required appropriation would be made for the electoral body in the 2022 budget.

He added that since the 2022 budget proposal of INEC has now been captured, the panel would lay the report on 2022 Appropriation Bill today and “It will be considered and passed same day by the Senate.”