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N189.2bn elections budget: National Assembly panels grill INEC chairman Yakubu

N189.2bn elections budget: National Assembly panels grill INEC chairman Yakubu

- Members of the House of Representatives committee on electoral and political party matters have quizzed the chairman of INEC, Mahmoud Yakubu, over elections budgte

- The committee members questioned the commission's chairman over N189.2bn proposed budget for 2019 general elections

- Other top officials of the commission were also grilled

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu and other top officials, were quizzed by members of the House of Representatives committee on electoral and political party matters, over the budget of the 2019 general elections.

Punch reports that the INEC chairman was also grilled by the Senate committee on INEC over the same issue. gathers that the electoral body proposed to spend a total of N189.2bn to conduct the elections, which include presidential, National Assembly, governorship and State Assemblies elections.

The N189.2bn covers the aspects of the elections to be handled directly by INEC. The overall cost of the elections presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in July is N242.4bn.

The INEC chairman appeared before the House committee at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, August 15, to defend the elections budget of N189.2bn.

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According to INEC N134.4bn will be spent on election operational cost, N27.5bn will be spent on procurement of election technologies, N22.6bn is earmarked for administrative cost, while another N4.6bn will be spent on miscellaneous expenditure.

Responding to question on why N6bn was included in the budget for police feeding, Mahmoud said: “These policemen suffer a lot too and we just have to be human. If our own members of staff are eating food, it doesn’t look nice to ignore the people providing security for them.

“They escort the election materials from point to point and honestly, it is not easy for them. So, we have made a provision of N1,000 for each policeman. Because of the large number that will be used for the elections, that is why the total looks big."

The INEC chairman also explained to the committee why there was N69bn difference between the budget submitted by the commission in 2015 and the one submitted for the 2019 general elections.

He said: “In 2015, we had 70 million registered voters. As of last week Saturday, we had over 80 million registered voters.

“All major activities are pegged against the total number of voters. In 2015, we had only 42 political parties. We now have 91 registered political parties eligible to take part in the 2019 general elections.

“The cost of logistics is also different in 2019 as opposed to 2015 because the pump price of petrol in 2015 is different from that of 2019. This will also have an impact.

“With the increase of voters, we will have to increase the number of voting points. And with the increase of voting points, we will also have an increase in ad hoc staff.”

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Meanwhile, previously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, July 17, informed the National Assembly that the 2019 elections would cost N242.4 billion.

The president disclosed this in a letter to the Senate which was read on the floor during plenary session.

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