Senator: Executive told Senate to slash MDAs fund for 2019 election

OrderPaperToday- The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, has dissociated the red chamber from the decision to slash the Ministries, Department and Agencies’ 2018 allocations in a bid to fund the 2019 general election.

President Muhammadu Buhari addressed a letter to the red chamber in July asking for virement from the 2018 budget, concentrating on constituency projects, for the sum of N242,245,050,100 used to serve as funds for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies.

However, the upper legislative chamber, in its approval on the 16th of October, resolved that the source would be from the Service Wide Votes.

On Tuesday, the chamber rescinded its decision and approved that half of the funding be taken from the budgets of the MDAs while the other half from the Service Wide Votes.

This led to backlash suggesting that the red chamber took this decision alone. In order to clear the air, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim released a statement on Friday explaining that the senate took this decision “following pressure on members of the Appropriations Committee by the Executive.”

The statement reads: “The insinuations being peddled that the Senate single-handedly and unilaterally cut the budgets of critical MDAs is false. Such actions are uncharacteristic of this 8th Senate.

“The facts remain that on Tuesday, October 16th, the Senate approved a Report that stipulated that the supplementary funding for INEC and security agencies to conduct the 2019 election should be sourced from the Service Wide Vote of the Executive through virement. This information is out everywhere.

“However, the Executive came up with a counter-proposal that asked that the election be funded through both the Service Wide Vote and the budgets of 30 MDAs —on a pro rata basis. This is why, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, had to come up with a Motion to rescind, reconsider and revise the source of funding contained in the original approval granted by the Senate.

“So, if you take a close look at the Senate’s order paper of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, you will see that N121,122,525,050, which represents half of the entire supplementary budget, was sourced from 30 MDAs chosen by the Executive, while the other N121,122,525,050 was taken from the Service Wide Vote.

“As always, all Senators remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria has free, fair and credible general elections next year, and they will continue to collaborate with the Executive, members of the public and all other stakeholders to ensure that this happens.”

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