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'Buhari asked Senate to slash budgets of 30 MDAs for 2019 elections'

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim says the Executive is aware of its decision to slash the budget of MDAs for the 2019 general elections.

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Senate Plenary play The Senate says the Executive is aware of its decision to slash the budget of MDAs for the 2019 general elections. (PT)

The Nigerian Senate says the decision to slash the budget of some Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to fund the 2019 general elections was a request from the Presidency.

The chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, said this in a statement on Friday, November 9, 2018.

The lawmaker explained that the red chamber’s decision to rescind and revise the methods of funding of the supplementary budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, was done in good faith, after due consultation with the Executive.

He said that on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, the Senate had already passed the N242, 245, 050,100 virement request with the stipulation that it should be funded from the Service Wide Vote, but had to rescind, reconsider and revise its position following pressure on members of the Appropriations Committee by the Executive.

“The insinuations being peddled that the Senate single-handedly and unilaterally cut the budgets of critical MDAs is false. Such actions are uncharacteristic of this 8th Senate,” Ibrahim said.

“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.

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“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", Ibrahim stated.

‘APC diverting SIP funds for 2019 election’

Meanwhile, the Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi, has accused the APC-led government of diverting funds meant for the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) for the 2019 general elections.

Olujimi alleged that beneficiaries of the SIP were required to provide details of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on an “I stand with Buhari” forms.

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