President Muhammadu Buhari has presented a supplementary budget to the National Assembly in which he sought the approval of N164bn out of the N242bn budgeted for the 2019 general elections.
Buhari said the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies would need N242bn for the elections, asking the legislature to provide N164bn through virement in the 2018 budget or supplementation, while the balance of N78bn would be covered by the 2019 budget.
Buhari, in his letter to the National Assembly, titled, ‘Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget,’ specifically asked the legislature to re-allocate part of the N578bn voted to the projects inserted into the 2018 Appropriation Act by the lawmakers to fund the elections and critical infrastructure.
The President specifically asked the legislature not to increase the current size of the 2018 Appropriation Act from N9.21tn but to vire N228bn from the N578bn to the elections as well as the critical projects as earlier proposed by the executive in the 2018 Appropriation Bill.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read the proposal at the plenary on Tuesday.
INEC to spend N189.2bn; NSAO, N4.2bn; DSS, N12bn; NSDC, N3.5bn; Police, N30.5bn; NIS; 2bn
Giving the breakdown of the running costs for the polls, Buhari said INEC needed N143, 512, 529, 445 for 2018 supplementary and N45, 695, 015,438 in 2019 budget, totalling N189, 207, 544, 893.
He said the Office of the National Security Adviser needed N3,855,500,000 for 2018 supplementary and N426,000,000 in 2019 budget, amounting to N4,281,500,000.
The Department of State Services wants N2,903,638,000 as 2018 supplementary and N9,309,644,455 in 2019 budget, totalling N12,213,282,455.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps requires N1,845,597,000 as 2018 supplementary and N1,727,997,500 in the 2019 budget, totalling N3,573,534,500.
Also, the Nigeria Police needs N11,457,417,432 as 2018 supplementary and N19,083,900,000 in 2019 budget, to get a total of N30,541,317,432.
The Nigeria Immigration Service also needs N2,628,143,320, out of which N530, 110,078 would come from 2018 supplementary and N2, 098,033,142 from the 2019 budget.
Buhari said, “As you are aware, the 2019 general election is scheduled to be conducted early in 2019. To ensure that adequate arrangements are made for free and fair elections, it has become necessary to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies to commence preparations. INEC and the security agencies have accordingly recently submitted their requests. These have been subjected to the usual budget evaluation. The aggregate cost of the election is estimated at N254,445,322, 600.
“However, in line with the prevailing fiscal constraints, I am proposing that the sum of N164, 104, 792, 065 be provided for through virement or supplementation of the 2018 budget. I propose that the balance of N78, 340, 530, 535, mostly related to personnel allowances, fuelling and other costs not required until election proper, be provided in their 2019 budget.”
The President said the critical projects, whose allocations were cut by the lawmakers, required N64bn, asking that the amount should also be taken out of the allocation to the inserted projects.
The lawmakers had introduced 6,403 projects into the budget amounting to N578bn.
Buhari said, “You will also recall that when I signed the 2018 Appropriation Act, I indicated the need for the reinstatement of certain cuts made to certain critical projects provided in the original executive bill. I am therefore submitting for your consideration the reinstatement of the most critical of such cuts totalling N64,749, 216, 150 which are summarised in Page 1.
“The total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the 2019 general elections and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228, 854, 800, 215. Implementing a budget of N9.12tn for 2018 is extremely challenging and, therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size of the 2018 expenditure framework to fund these very important and critical expenditure items.
“Accordingly, I invite the distinguished Senate to consider, in the national interest, relocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totalling N 578, 319, 951, 904 to cover the sum of N228, 854, 800, 205 required as noted above.
“A schedule setting out a comprehensive list of these inserted projects is attached to this letter for ease of your consideration. Further to the above, kindly find attached a supplementary budget and virement proposal for your consideration.”
The two chambers of the National Assembly had passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill on May 16, 2018. The legislature had increased the budget from N8.612tn as proposed by the executive to N9.12tn.
The lawmakers had said the additional N508bn was based on the agreement between the executive and the legislature based on the increase in prices of crude oil, which led to the raising of the oil benchmark from the proposed $45 to $51.
However, the President had, while assenting to the bill on June 20, complained about the adjustments made to the estimates in the budget by the legislature.