President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the National Assembly to approve N242 billion (242,445,322,600) as requested by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for the 2019 elections.
Mr Buhari's request came in a letter dated September 19, and read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at plenary on Wednesday.
In the letter titled 'Request for virement/supplementary budget,' President Buhari referred to the 2019 election budget he transmitted to the Senate in July.
In his previous letter, Mr Buhari said of the total sum, N164 billion (N164,104,792,065) will be drawn from the 2018 supplementary budget while N78 billion (N78,314,530,535) will form part of the 2019 budget of these agencies.
But in his letter today, he requested that the entire N242 billion be considered for inclusion in his virement request under the 2018 Appropriation Act.
He reminded the lawmakers that the Joint Committee of the National Assembly told the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, that it would be willing to consider accommodating the total amount required for the election, should the president make a formal request.
Below is Mr Buhari's letter:
Request for Virement/Supplementary Budget
You may recall that in my letter dated 11th July, 2018, I requested for the kind consideration of the National Assembly for a virement under the 2018 Appropriation Act. Part of this request was for the funding of the requests made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Security Agencies for the 2019 general elections.
In that letter, I indicated that INEC, and the Security Agencies had indicated that their total funding requirements for the 2019 elections would amount to N242,445,322,600.00. Of that amount, I have requested that N164,104,792,065.00 be accommodated in the 2018 Budget, by way of virement within the 2018 Appropriation Act, whilst the balance of N78,340,530,535.00, should be considered by the National Assembly as part of the 2019 Budget.
When the Hon. Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, appeared before the Joint Committee of the National Assembly, set up to consider my request, he was informed that the National Assembly would be willing to consider accommodating the total amount required for the funding of the 2019 elections as part of the virements of the 2018 Appropriation Act, provided there was a specific request made by me.
In the light of the current realities, and in order to ensure that the 2019 general elections are not affected by any delays in the passage into law of the 2019 Budget, I accept this kind suggestion. I therefore wish to formally request that the total amount of N242,445,322, 600 .00 requested by INEC and the Security Agencies, be considered for inclusion in my virement request under the 2018 Appropriation Act.
I look forward to your urgent consideration of this request to ensure that the 2019 general elections are properly conducted.
Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.