Nigeria’s electoral regulating body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has provided the National Assembly with a budget of N305 billion for the 2023 general elections.
The INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the presentation during a Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing on Monday.
The election budget was scheduled to be presented by INEC in its 2022 budget, which is expected to be approved by lawmakers.
INEC stated that the N305 billion is different from the electoral body’s annual budget request of N40 billion, adding to the N100 billion of the total planned cost that has been already disbursed but will not be enough to adequately prepare for the 2023 general elections.
“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”, the INEC chief said.
He went on to say that INEC has already made provisions in the N40 billion annual budget to cover expenses for off-season elections.
One of the reasons for the increased budget proposal, according to INEC, is that operations must be completed before the general elections.
“Party primaries must be conducted and concluded before the elections and names of candidates submitted, registration of voters 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.