Tension rose in the National Assembly on Tuesday as President Muhammadu Buhari asked lawmakers to deduct N228 billion from the N517 billion allegedly padded into the 2018 Budget to finance the supplementary budget meant 2019 general elections submitted on Tuesday for consideration.
Buhari had accused the National Assembly of padding the 2018 Budget with N578 billion by introducing 1,403 new projects into the budget.
In the letter titled ‘Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget,’ President Buhari urged the lawmakers to remove projects earlier inserted into the budget and replace them with priority projects as contained in the original bill.
While signing the budget on June 20, President Buhari raised the alarm that Nigerian lawmakers had tampered with the document sent to them, stating that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
Buhari in his Tuesday letter insisted he would not submit a supplementary budget to fund these priority projects. Instead, he urged the lawmakers to remove those inserted.
Also contained in the letter is the supplementary budget of N242 billion (N242,445,322, 600) to fund six agencies in the 2019 general election.
Of the total sum, N164 billion (N164,104,792,065) will be drawn from the 2018 supplementary budget while N78 billion (N78,314,530,535) will form part of the 2019 budget of these agencies.
Below is Buhari’s letter:
Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budge
As you are aware, the 2019 general election is scheduled to be conducted early in 2019. To ensure that adequate arrangements are made for free and fair election, it has become necessary to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies to commence preparations.
INEC and the security agencies have accordingly recently submitted their requests and these have been subjected to the usual budget evaluation. The aggregate cost of the election is estimated at N254, 445, 322,600. However, in line with the prevailing fiscal I’m proposing that the sum of N164, 104, 792, 65 be provided for through virement or supplementation of the 2018 budget. I propose that the balance of N78, 340, 530, 535 mostly related to personnel allowances, fuelling and other costs not required until election proper be provided in their 2019 budget.
The proposal for the 2019 election is as summarised below:
2018 supplementary – N143, 512, 529, 445
2019 budget – N45, 695, 015,438
Total: N189, 207, 544, 893
Office of the National Security Adviser
2018 supplementary – N3, 855, 500, 000
2019 budget – N426, 000, 000
Total – N4, 281, 500,000
2018 supplementary – N2, 903, 638, 000
2019 budget – N9,309,644,455
Total – N12, 213, 282, 455
2018 supplementary – N1, 845, 597, 000
2019 budget – N1, 727, 997, 500
Total – N3, 573, 534, 500
2018 supplementary – N11, 457, 417, 432
2019 budget – N19, 083, 900, 000
Total – N30, 541, 317, 432
2018 supplementary – N530, 110, 078
2019 budget – N2, 098,033, 142
Total – N2, 628, 143, 320
Total amount (for 2019 election)
2018 supplementary – N164, 104, 792, 065
2019 budget – N78, 314, 530, 535
Total – N242, 445, 322, 600
You will also recall that when I signed the 2018 appropriation act, I indicated the need for reinstatement of certain cuts made to certain critical projects provided in the original executive bill. I’m therefore submitting for your consideration the reinstatement of most of the most critical of such cuts totalling N67, 742, 216, 150 which are summarised in page one. The total amount required to be provided for in the 2018 budget for the 2019 general election and to restore the identified critical projects to the amount earlier proposed is therefore N228, 854, 800, 250.
Implementing a budget of N9.12 trillion for 2018 would be extremely challenging and therefore, I do not consider it expedient to propose a further increase to the size of the 2018 expenditure framework to fund these very important and critical expenditure items.
Accordingly, I invite the distinguished senate to consider, in the national interest, relocating some of the funds appropriated for the new projects which were inserted into the 2018 budget proposal totalling N 578, 319, 951, 904 to cover the sum of N228, 854, 800, 205 required as noted above.
A schedule sitting out a comprehensive list of these inserted projects is attached to this letter for ease of your consideration.
Further to the above, kindly find attached a supplementary budget and virement proposal for your consideration.
While hoping that this request will expeditious consideration of the distinguished senate, please accept, Mr Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.