By Harrison Arubu
The Senate Committee on Appropriation has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the virement of N242 billion under the 2018 Appropriation Act to conduct the 2019 general elections.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje, who stated this at the committees meeting on Wednesday, said the decision would be laid before the full house for consideration at plenary on Thursday.
Goje said the decision to approve the president’s request was informed by the urgent need for funds by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to begin preparations for the polls.
Earlier at plenary, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had read out the president’s request, which came in a letter dated Sept. 19, 2018.
In it, Buhari asked the lawmakers to consider including the total N242 billion as part of the virements of the 2018 Appropriation Act.
The amount is being requested by INEC and security agencies to conduct the 2019 general elections.
In a July 11 request to the legislature, the president had asked that N164 billion out of the N242 billion be vired in the 2018 budget, and the balance of N78 billion included in the 2019 budget.
But the lawmakers indicated their willingness to accommodate the total amount for virement under the 2018 Appropriation Act, if requested by the president.
President Buhari said, “In the light of the current realities, and in order to ensure that the 2019 general elections are not affected by the delays in the passage into law of the 2019 budget, I accept this kind suggestion.