Independent National Electoral Commission’s budget for the 2023 general elections has been estimated at the combined 2022 budgets of Gombe and Yobe States.
INEC presented a budget of N305 billion for the 2023 general elections to the National Assembly on Monday in Abuja. While the 2022 budget of Gombe State is N154.9bn and Yobe is N164bn.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu made the presentation to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
The committee had invited INEC to present the budget so as to include it in the 2022 budget billed for passage by both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
According to INEC Chairman, the N305 billion is different from the N40 billion yearly budget of the electoral body.
He noted that while N100 billion had been released to the Commission out of the total projected expenditure, it would not be enough for adequate preparation towards 2023.
“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 budgets include expenditures for particularly off-season elections.
“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,” he said.
In making a case for additional releases from the N205 billion balance, Prof. Yakubu listed activities that must be conducted ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“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 elections and names of candidates submitted, registration of voter’s would have to be concluded before the elections.
“Printing of Permanent Voters Cards would have to be concluded before the elections and some of the critical election technology must be concluded and procured before the elections,” Yakubu said.
In his remarks, committee chairman, Sen. Jibrin Barau (APC-Kano North) said that the required appropriation would be made for the electoral body in the 2022 budget.
Barau assured that the report of the committee on the 2022 budget proposals would be laid in plenary at both chambers on Tuesday, considered and passed.