‘N189bn for INEC, N52bn for security agencies’ — Buhari sends budget of 2019 polls to senate

President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted the budget of the 2019 election to the upper chamber of the national assembly.

The president said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies have jointly submitted their expenses for the election, giving the breakdown as N189 billion for the electoral body and 52 billion for the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies.

In a letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, the president asked to lawmakers to  to re-allocate N164,104,792, 65 in the 2018 budget for the election expenses.

He said the balance of N78,340,530, 535 – mostly related to personal expenses – should be put in the 2019 budget.

“As you are aware, the 2019 general election is scheduled to be conducted early in 2019. To ensure that adequate arrangements are made for free and fair election, it has become necessary to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies to commence preparations,” the letter read.

“INEC and the security agencies have accordingly recently submitted their requests and these have been subjected to the usual budget evaluation.

“The aggregate cost of the election is estimated at N254, 445, 322,600. However, in line with the prevailing fiscal condition, I’m proposing that the sum of N164,104,792,65 be provided for through virement or supplementation of the 2018 budget. I propose that the balance of N78,340,530, 535 mostly related to personnel allowances, fuelling and other costs not required until election proper be provided in their 2019 budget.”

The president also asked the lawmakers to reinstate “certain cuts made to certain critical projects provided in the original executive bill”.

“I’m therefore submitting for your consideration the reinstatement of most of the most critical of such cuts totalling N67,742,216,150 which are summarised in page one. The total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the 2019 general election and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228,854, 800, 250,” the letter read.

“Implementing a budget of N9.12 trillion for 2018 is extremely challenging and therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase.

“Accordingly, I invite the distinguished senate to consider, in the national interest, relocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totalling N 578, 319, 951, 904 to cover the sum of N228, 854,800, 205 required as noted above.”