The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reduced the earlier approved budget for the commission by over N200 million.
The committee had on Monday adopted a budget of N143 billion (N143,512,529,455) for the elections – as against the initial demand of N189 billion by INEC. It, however, directed the electoral commission to present another budget for the approved N143 billion.
By Tuesday, the Chairman of the committee, Suleiman Nazif, and other members disclosed that INEC had submitted a new budget for the N143 billion. They also set up a six-member sub-committee to review INEC’s new budget.
At its final meeting on Thursday, Nazif disclosed that the committee has reduced the amount by exactly N200,272,500 million.
The lawmakers also recommended that the funds be sourced from the other service-wide votes under the Special Intervention Programme, to avoid inflating the 2018 budget.
The committee chairman who gave the report, explained that the N200.2 million was cut from four sub-heads in the INEC budget.
According to a report, the panel reduced N50.2 million from N587.2 million for “enlightenment forums” originally budgeted by INEC. It stated that political parties were already doing enlightenment for the 2019 elections.
“Election jingles” budgeted for N471.9 million, but was cut by N71 million and “training of continuous voter registration officials”, initially budgeted for N300 million, was reduced by N50 million.
Similarly, the committee slashed the “monitoring of elections in 2019” originally budgeted for N359.4 million, by N27 million.
Nazif said the the recommendation will be forwarded to the National Assembly leadership and the Committee on Appropriation for consideration and final approval.