The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is to spend N1 billion for Voters Registration exercise preparatory to 2023 general elections, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu has said.
Speaking when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters to defend the Commission’s 2021 budget proposal, the Chairman said the exercise will commence in the first quarter of 2021.
He said that the Commission has been facing a lot of financial challenges due to a reduction in their budgetary allocation as a result of the global economic downturn occasioned by the crash in the price of crude oil and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, said INEC has been able to sustain funding of various elections it has so far conducted because it decided to draw about N5.2 billion from the INEC Fund which according to him was established in 2010 by law.
According to him, because INEC is one of the agencies that do not return unspent funds to government coffers at the end of every year, it decided to save such funds in the INEC Fund hoping for a rainy day.
“We at the Commission decided that the rainy day has come when its annual budget was reduced from N45.5 billion in 2019 to N36 billion in 2020,” the Chairman said explaining that the N5.2 billion removed from the Fund was able to bridge the gap created by the reduction in its annual budget.
Earlier in her speech, the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Aisha Jibrin Duku congratulated the INEC boss, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu for his reappointment stressing that the reappointment signifies his doggedness in steering the affairs of the Commission and most importantly, his steadfastness towards conducting free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
She said the Commission is requested to forward details of its 2020 appropriated budget expenditure as well as the 2021 budget proposal for further legislative action stressing that it is only through the budget that INEC can be able to discharge its mandate of conducting credible elections in Nigeria.
“We are partners in progress whose goal is to strengthen our electoral process and aid INEC in discharging its functions”, she stated.