* Proposes N45.5bn annual budget The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said it will release, before the end of this week, the timetable and schedule of activities for the end of tenure governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States billed to hold at separate dates later this year. Its chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure when he led other members of the Commission to defend the Commission’s 2019 budget proposal before a joint session of the Senate Committee on INEC and House Committee on Electoral matters. Yakubu, while breaking down the Commission’s 2019 budget proposal of N45.4 billion, explained: “This year we are going to conduct two end of tenure elections into the offices of the governors in Kogi and Bayelsa States. “This year towards the end of the year we are going to conduct governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsea.” He added: “Let me seize this opportunity here to say before the end of this week INEC will issue a timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states”. On the 2019 INEC budget, he observed that the Commission was receiving same envelop amount as 2017 and 2018. He said: “For 2019, we were presented with an envelope of N45.5 billion as our regular budget. This is the same envelope as in 2018 only slightly better than the envelopes of several years before them. “In 2017, it was 45 billion in 2016 it was 45 billion naira and in 2018 it was increased marginally to 45.5 billion and the same envelope was presented to the Commission in 2018 and 2019.” He noted that in terms of performance of the Commissions budget in the previous year, INEC was fully funded. “I will say for the 2018 financial year we were fully funded. We were on the first line charge so in terms of the releases from the executive to the Commission we were fully funded,” the INEC boss said. The INEC chairman further gave a breakdown of the proposed 45.5 billion naira, which he explained were in four components. He said: “The first one is personnel cost and in 2019 the commission is proposing the sum of 21.8 billion naira to cover consolidated salaries for 16,455 career employees of INEC and 51 political office holders, making a total of 16,506 employees of the commission in 2019. “The personnel cost is broken into two subheads, you have the consolidated salary of 17.5 billion and you have the social contribution, National Health Insurance, contributory pension, and employee compensation of 4.3 billion naira.” The second component, according to Yakubu, is the overhead cost put at N4.2 billion while the third budget head is for electoral expenditure. “The Commission is proposing the sum of N17.7 billion under the electoral expenditure to cover such activities as monitoring party primaries, conventions, voter education, stakeholder meeting legal expenses and others,” he explained. He said the fourth and final budget head for which N1.6billion was earmarked was for capital expenditure. The chairman Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, commended INEC for a job well done in the just concluded 2019 general elections even as he noted that there were concerns that should be addressed going forward.]]>

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