The Senate on Wednesday approved that half of the N242 billion budgeted for the 2019 election be removed from the 2018 budget of 30 federal agencies.
Presenting a motion on Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, said the election could not be funded entirely from the service wide votes as earlier approved.
The motion, co-sponsored by 18 other senators proposed that N121 billion be removed from the 30 agencies while the other N121 billion be sourced from service wide votes.
"Recall the approval of the Virement/Supplementary budget for INEC and Security Agencies for the conduct of the 2019 General elections in the sum of Two Hundred and Forty-Two Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-Five Million, Fifty Thousand, One hundred Naira [N242, 245, 050,100] only, which is to be funded from the Service Wide Votes on the 16th October, 2018-Senate Resolution (S/RS/027/04/8);
"The Senate is aware that because of some obvious and imminent issues of national socioeconomic importance, the virement/supplementary request cannot be implemented as earlier approved," Mr Goje said.
Contributing to the motion, Dino Melaye (Kogi-PDP) said the N27.3 billion budgeted for the Nigeria Police during the election was too much. He premised his argument on the fact that the police would be involved in less mobilisation as it is a general election.
He was countered by Mr Goje who said the fund was justifiable as police would have to make mobilisation for the election. Mr Goje added that the Senate had already passed the stage of budgeting for agencies and was only tasked to determine the source of funding.
He said, "The only thing different from what we passed on the 16th of October is the source of funding. Initially, the source of funding was to come from the service wide votes but now we reduce the weight by half. That has to come from the MDAs. Otherwise, this Senate took a decision, approved this virement.
"The submission, by Mr President, for the police was over 30 billion. It was the appropriation committee that reduced it by three billion. I want to correct the impression that there will be no mobilisation. We all know how elections use to be in this country. Police have to be deployed to different polling units. They are provided vehicles, allowances. I'm sure the money is even small."