Senate Cut Health, Education Budget to Fund 2019 Elections
The Senate on Wednesday made a U-turn on the source of funding for the budgets of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to conduct the 2019 general elections.
While the National Assembly had earlier approved N242,245,050,100 from only the Special Intervention Programme under the Service Wide Votes of the Presidency, half of the money will now be taken from the 2018 budgets of ministries, departments and agencies.
The move by the legislature followed the adoption of a motion by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, and 18 unnamed others.
Moving the motion, Goje urged the Senate to “rescind and reconsider its approval of the request as contained in Resolution S/RS/027/04/8, in line with Order 53(6) of its Standing Order” and approve the sum of N242,245,050,100 as earlier passed by the legislature.
He further prayed the Senate to approve “the source of funds from ministries, departments and agencies, and the Service Wide Votes as contained in the table below and the attached details.”
According to the table, N121,122,525,050 will now be vired from the N500bn SIP under the SWV.
The other half of the N242,245,050,100 elections budget was taken from the votes to 30 MDAS, including the Presidency.
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing will contribute the largest share of the balance with N25,527,821,945 vired from its N714,668,969,899 appropriation.
Other ministries hit by the virement are the Water Resources, with N12,954,799,500 taken from its N155,149,395,652 budget. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will contribute N11,057,594,240; Education, N10,238,444,433; Budget and National Planning, N8,845,154,871; Health, N8,059,195,896; Science and Technology, N7,466,143,244; and Industry, Trade and Investment, N7,085,582,899.
The Presidency, which had N59,343,353,082 appropriated for it in 2018, had N1,247,843,520 taken from its budget.
Out of the N242bn for the elections, INEC gets N189,007,272,393, while the Office of the National Security Adviser and security agencies get N53,237,777,707.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly dated July 11, 2018, presented a N228bn supplementary budget to the National Assembly, asking 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 exercise.