INEC to spend N63bn on ballot papers, result sheets, allowances

The Independent National Electoral Commission will feed security agents and election officers for two election days (February 16 and March 2, 2019) at the cost of N4.6bn.

INEC will also require N35bn for the printing of ballot papers and result sheets in next year’s general elections.

The information is contained in INEC’s 2019 Election Project Plan Vol. 2.

The total sum of N189bn, which INEC is demanding to execute the general elections, is included in the N228bn virement proposal sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the budget proposal obtained by SUNDAY PUNCH, INEC will require the services of over 2.7 million workers which would be fed at the rate of N1,000 each for each election day.

The budget is captioned, ‘Feeding of security and election personnel: N4,689,488, 100.00.’

Providing a breakdown of how the feeding money would be spent, the document further reads, “Feeding of 2,753,486 election officials at N1,000 each (two days); feeding of security officials at polling unit level (three each); registration area level (six per registration area); 10 each per local government area.”

The commission also earmarked N35bn for the printing of ballot papers and result sheets stating, “Procurement of five sets of 80 million ballot papers (Presidential, senatorial, Reps, state assembly, presidential run-off), 65 million ballot papers for 29 governorship elections and 19.5 million (30 per cent of gov); for governorship run-off (44.5 million each) at N65 each.

“Printing of result sheets: N4, 361, 920, 368. Breakdown: Cost for seven elections. N720, 217, 680 for presidential election; N720, 217, 680 for presidential run-off; N576, 174, 144 for governorship; 30 per cent for first governorship run-off elections: N720, 555, 680; federal constituency election: N723, 164, 000; state constituency election: N728, 742, 040.”

INEC also budgeted the sum of N28bn to pay the over 2.7 million workers that will conduct the elections.

The commission will also spend about N850m to insure the workers against injuries or for compensation in the event of death.

Commission to spend N1bn on stickers, t-shirts

Also, the electoral body has budgeted the sum of N1bn to print stickers and t-shirts as part of a voter education campaign.

The proposal reads, “Proposal and distribution of leaflets, pamphlets, stickers, INEC branded wears: N1, 029, 367, 000.00.”

INEC further requested N500m to procure kits for 70,000 accredited observers that would monitor the elections nationwide.

It added, “Procurement of kits and accredited election observers: N500,000,000. Breakdown: Observers ID cards 70, 000 copies. Observers jacket: 70,000 pieces at N500 each, totalling N350m; 70,000 pieces of Fez caps at N1, 500 each to cost N105m; 70,000 folders at N800 each at a total of N56m; 70,000 jotters at N300 each for N21m.

“70,000 CDs bearing information at N1,000 each to cost N70m; 70,000 stickers.”

The commission earmarked N630m to monitor primaries across the country.

INEC noted that it would cost N27.8m to monitor presidential primaries while about N420m would be spent monitoring governorship, senatorial, federal constituency and state constituency primaries. It also budgeted N182m to support states and LGAs for the conduct off primaries.

The electoral body earmarked N7.6bn to print 15 million Permanent Voter Cards at the cost of N510 each.

Attempts to get INEC to comment on the possible effects of the delay in approving the budget did not succeed. When contacted on the telephone for comment, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Prince Solomon Soyebi, said he would respond via a text message. However, he had yet to do so as of press time.

Laws regulating budgets must be amended –Okonjo-Iweala

The immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says there is a need for the laws regulating the passage of budgets to be amended.

Okonjo-Iweala said this at the signing and reading of her new book titled, Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines in Abuja on Saturday.

The former minister was reacting to a question on Nigeria’s budget system and the usual rift it causes between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

She said budget impasse could affect investor confidence and portray Nigeria as a dysfunctional country to the outside world.

Okonjo-Iweala noted that in 2013, former President Goodluck Jonathan almost did not sign the budget because a lot of the projects and items he included in the budget were been removed by the legislature.

The former minister stated, “So, my thinking now is that we need to step up and put together some independent committee or commission, including people from outside, who know how budget process works combined with respected people from inside because we have them.

“Independent-minded people, who sit down and help us to hammer out where does the prerogative of the executive start and stop; where does the prerogative of National Assembly stop. If we can put that together, it would be preferable.

“But we have to translate it into laws which will help govern our budget process. We must do this because as long as it is left open, every time it is time for budget, the argument will arise. If that doesn’t work, then maybe the matter should go to the Supreme Court.

“I think we need to get it into the constitution. There are some countries like South Africa that have financial rules written into their constitution and it makes the life of the finance minister so easy because nobody can argue because if you do, it becomes unconstitutional.”

She said there was a need to ensure that all Nigerians accused of wrongdoing are punished but it must be done in such a way that justice is not selective.

Okonjo-Iweala said, “We have a country where there is a lot of impunity and when there is punishment it doesn’t always fall evenly. I think that is why there is so much cynicism. What we need is to get away from impunity but let it be even.

“Let it not be seen as directed at one group or the other; one section of people or the other or whatever it is. In any administration, we have got to get to a level where we wield the instrument of power and punishment properly without fear or favour.”

N242bn 2019 poll budget too high, says Transparency Int’l

Meanwhile, the Transparency International said on Saturday that the budget of N242bn to prosecute the 2019 Nigeria’s general elections was unacceptable and showed that the facilities used in 2015 were not properly maintained.

The Head of Transparency International, Nigeria, Musa Rafsanjani, who stated this in an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents, said the budget was too expensive.

He noted that some facilities used for the 2015 elections ought to be utilised in 2019, so that the election budget would not amount to a wastage of government fund.

It was reported two weeks ago that President Muhammadu Buhari sent a virement proposal of N228.8bn to the National Assembly. Buhari had said INEC and security agencies would need N242bn for the 2019 general elections.

The TI Head, Nigeria, Rafsanjani, said on Saturday that the Federal Government needed to review the budget for the 2019 elections.

He said, “If the government had done due diligence, the cost of running the 2019 elections would have been much cheaper. We must not turn our election cycle to an opportunity for duplication of statutory allocations and a waste of the previous facilities that were procured.

“I think the Nigerian election is becoming embarrassing because no part of the world is spending this kind of resources carelessly.

“We are talking about the cost of governance. The question we need to ask is: what happened to the previous election facilities such as vehicles used in 2015?

“The Nigerian government should seriously begin to review the cost of governance. We are wasting a lot of public funds that should have been used to address poverty and unemployment.”

Copyright PUNCH.

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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