Also, after a 30-minute closed-door session, the committee announced that it has rejected the request by INEC to have the budget increased to N189.2billion.
Chairman of the joint committee, Suleiman Nazif, who disclosed this, said the committee had also directed the commission to re-order and re-prioritise its needs within the N143.5 billion budget and re-submit same not later than 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday (today).
Nazif said: “The joint committee has sat and has deliberated and taken the position to adopt the N143.5 billion as presented by the President.
At this point in time, it is also the wish of this committee that INEC represents their budget of N143 billion as requested by the President.
Therefore, INEC has an opportunity to re-prioritise and this committee will be ready to receive them tomorrow.
This committee will be reconvening tomorrow by 1:00 p.m. so that we can consider the presentation by INEC.”
Based on its earlier proposed budget of N189.2 billion, INEC had voted N134.4 billion for election operational cost, N27.5 billion for election technological cost and N22.6 billion for election administrative cost.
Previous meetings of the committee to take decision on the conflict between the President’s figure of N143.5billion and the N189.2 billion sought by INEC had been stalemated.
Buhari had proposed that N143.512 billion be approved for INEC to conduct the 2019 general elections even as he informed the Legislature that another N45.695 billion would be given to the commission as its budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
But INEC on the contrary asked the National Assembly to approve N189.2 billion for the purpose of conducting the elections alone.
At that previous meeting, lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) preferred that only the N143.5 billion proposed by the President be approved for INEC, while their All Progressives Congress (APC) colleagues wanted a whole N189.2 billion requested by INEC approved for the commission.