Passage of 2022 budget moved as INEC delays submission

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Plan by both Chambers of the National Assembly to pass the N16.39trillion budget this week suffered a setback Wednesday as the financial requirements from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for 2023 general election is yet to be presented and captured.

This is as the National Population Commission ( NPC) declared that the slated National Census for next year will cost N400billion

Last minute efforts made by the Senate Appropriation Committee to get the requirement details from INEC on the 2023 general elections at a special session on Wednesday failed as Chairman of the electoral body, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, was not at the session.

The Commissioner who represented INEC Chairman at the Session , Alhaji Zuru Abdulrahman Abdul , informed the committee that the details being sought for, cannot be given by him but only the INEC Chairman.

“Mr Chairman and members of this distinguished committee , we have listened to you and appreciate the concern on funding the 2023 general elections as regards the need to capture some of the projected expenses in the 2022 budget .

“But such financial details can only be given by our Chairman who is presently abroad and billed to return on Sunday or Monday morning .

“So in the light of this , financial details requested for shall be made available on Monday next week”, he said.

Consequently, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North), ruled for adjournment of the session to Monday next week.

In a brief media chat with journalists thereafter, Senator Barau said the latest development will not make passage of the 2022 budget this week possible.

“2023 general elections and projected National Head counts slated for next year are very important the reason why we want to make provisions for them in the 2022 budget .

“As a result of the importance of the two, passage of 2022 budget will no longer be possible this week as earlier planned and clearly stated on our time table,” he said.

In the time table released in October, report on the budget supposed to have been laid by the Appropriation Committee on Tuesday December 14, 2021 and passage fixed for Wednesday or Thursday this week.

In line with Senator Barau’s disclosure to journalists , the Senate at the end of its session on Wednesday , adjourned to Tuesday December 21, 2021 for another session , strongly indicating that the budget may be laid, considered and passed that day, signalling a week behind schedule.

Meanwhile, the NPC Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra , told the Committee that the total estimate cost for the National Census slated for next year is N400billion.

The Committee at the end of the session said submission gotten from NPC will be added to the expected one from INEC on Monday next week as parts of report to be laid before the Senate for consideration and passage next week.