Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters have alleged duplication of items in the 2018 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) budget currently before them.
The committee chaired by Aishatu Dukku (APC-Gombe) sat on Wednesday to consider approval of funds for INEC to enable the commission prepare for the 2019 elections.
The lawmakers observed that most of the subheads captured in the N189.2 billion proposal were contained in the N45.5 billion first line charge budget approved for INEC in the recently signed 2018 budget that is currently running.
The total sum of N45.5 billion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the budget was approved by the National Assembly.
In her remarks at the sitting, Mrs. Dukku said the House would support issues that will strengthen the nation’s electoral process and aid INEC in discharging its functions.
“It is only by so doing that one can begin to unravel the intricacies of the entire range of issues involved and their inter-connection,” she said.
“You will agree with me that for a government that promised change to its people, the foundation of this change ought to be evident in the way we plan our elections and electoral processes.”
Mrs Dukku stressed that estimates should represent a true picture of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
She expressed concerns over INEC’s previous budgets, saying they were neither productive nor ineffective because of poor planning.
“It is our prayer and hope that the present administration would address the issues with budgeting especially as regards to funding unlike the previous budgets that were not productive in the entire planning of elections.”
The committee went further to question the N28.6 billion proposed as honoraria for 2,763,990 ad-hoc staff for the 2019 general elections.
From the N2.916 billion proposed for Registration Area Centres (RAC) preparation for the general elections, INEC proposed N56.6 million for operation kite for 2,000 tents, N123.5 million for an unstated number of megaphones, N6 billion for unspecified number of sleeping mats and N232.8 million for unspecified number of tactical torch lights.
The committee upon deliberation will prepare its reports and lay it before the House whenever it reconvenes.