The Senate yesterday changed the source of funding for the 2019 elections from one to several others.
The lawmakers had earlier approved N242.2 billion for the elections budget, saying the amount would be sourced from the Service Wide Votes (SWV).
But they have now resolved that half of the amount would be sourced from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), after adopting a motion by Sen Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe), who is the chairman of the Senate appropriation committee.
Consequently, the sum of N121.122bn would be sourced from the Service Wide Votes and another N121.122bn would come from the MDAs.
Our correspondent reports that 30 MDAs would be affected by the new approval. They are: power, works and housing, N25.527bn; water resources, N12.6bn; agriculture and rural development, N11bn; education, N10.238bn; and health, N8bn.
Others are budget and national planning, N8.8bn; science and technology, N7.4bn; office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), N6.7bn; trade and investment, N7bn; labour and employment, N2.7bn, among others.
Before the new arrangement was adopted, Sen Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi) raised an objection to the N27.3bn allocated to the Nigerian Police Force for the conduct of the elections.
Melaye said at a time when many Nigerians were battling with hunger, it would be “unjustifiable” to allocate such an amount to the police.
But Goje countered Dino, saying the amount had been approved before and that the only change now was the source of funding.
“I also want to correct the impression created by the last speaker. There is usually massive deployment during elections. The amount may even be too small because you’re going to have policemen in every polling unit,” Goje said.
After Goje’s submission, Senate President Bukola Saraki said he believed the police needed funding for the elections, but that what was at stake should be how the police expended its elections budget.
It was consequently agreed that the committee on police affairs and those of other security agencies should look at how the police applied the funds for the last two elections and report back in two weeks.