Buhari asked us to slash 30 agencies’ budget to fund INEC – Senate

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President Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki
President Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki

Buhari asked us to slash 30 agencies’ budget to fund INEC – Senate

NEWS DIGEST – The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, has explained that the Senate’s decision to rescind and revise the means of funding of the supplementary budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, was done “in good faith, after due consultation with the executive.”

Mr Ibrahim in a statement on Friday said that the Senate already passed the N242, 245, 050,100 supplementary budget on Tuesday, October 16 with the stipulation that it should be funded from the service wide vote, but had to rescind and revise its position following pressure on members of the Senate Appropriations Committee by the executive.

The Senate on Wednesday approved that half of the N242 billion budgeted for the 2019 election be removed from the 2018 budget of 30 federal agencies.

Presenting a motion, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, said the election could not be funded entirely from the service wide votes as earlier approved.

The deduction was greeted by criticism by Nigerians who questioned why the lawmakers decided to cut budget of key agencies rather than cut their allowances.

Reacting to this on Friday, Mr Ibrahim said the idea of slashing budgets of these minitsries, departments and agencies (MDAs) emanated from the executive.

“The insinuations being peddled that the Senate single-handedly and unilaterally cut the budgets of critical MDAs is false. Such actions are uncharacteristic of this 8th Senate.

“The facts remain that on Tuesday, October 16th, the Senate approved a report that stipulated that the supplementary funding for INEC and security agencies to conduct the 2019 election should be sourced from the Service Wide Vote of the Executive through virement. This information is out everywhere.

“However, the Executive came up with a counter-proposal that asked that the election be funded through both the Service Wide Vote and the budgets of 30 MDAs —on a pro rata basis. This is why, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, had to come up with a Motion to rescind, reconsider and revise the source of funding contained in the original approval granted by the Senate.

“So, if you take a close look at the Senate’s Order paper of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, you will see that N121,122,525,050, which represents half of the entire supplementary budget, was sourced from 30 MDAs chosen by the Executive, while the other N121,122,525,050 was taken from the Service Wide Vote.

“As always, all senators remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria has free, fair and credible general elections next year, and they will continue to collaborate with the Executive, members of the public and all other stakeholders to ensure that this happens”, Mr Ibrahim stated.

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