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Senator: Executive asked us to slash MDAs’ budgets to fund 2019 polls

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Rafiu Ibrahim, chairman of the senate committee on banking, says the executive proposed the cuts made in the budgets of ministries, department and agencies (MDAs).

The upper legislative chamber had earlier approved that the funds for 2019 elections should be raised from recurrent, capital and service wide votes of the 2018 budget.

But on Tuesday, the senate revised its position.

It said the N242 billion President Muhammadu Buhari requested will come from service wide votes and the budgets of MDAs.

Power, education and health ministries were among those affected.

In a statement on Friday, Ibrahim said the insinuation that the senate unilaterally made cuts in the budgets is untrue.

“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,” the statement read.

“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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