The leadership of the National Assembly will today hold an emergency meeting to consider the supplementary budget for approval, especially the budgets of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday summoned the leadership of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the emergency meeting. Ten leaders each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, making 20, will meet by 12:00pm today in the Senate wing of the National Assembly.
This is coming just as the presidency yesterday warned that should the National Assembly fail to reconvene and pass the supplementary budget, the government may shutdown in few months. Reports indicate that today’s meeting convened by the Senate president is a direct response to the appeal by the presidency for the federal legislature to reconvene and act on the president’s request on the virement and supplementary budget.
It is reported that INEC officials will join the National Assembly leadership by 1:00pm after the meeting of the lawmakers scheduled to begin by 12:00pm. According to the source who did not want his name in print, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu will lead the commission’s officials to appear before the joint leadership of the National Assembly. He said the meeting “may pave way for possible reconvening of sittings of both chambers this month for consideration and approval of the N242billion budgeted for conduct of the elections”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month, before the National Assembly went on recess, forwarded for approval N242billion budget estimates for the conduct of the 2019 elections. President Buhari, in a letter seeking virement, explained that out of the proposed N242, 445, 322, 600.00 billion estimated funding of the 2019 general election, N164.104billion should be appropriated for by the National Assembly through virement, while the balance of N78.340billon would be provided for in the 2019 budget provisions.
He explained further that the N164billion needed by INEC this year should be expeditiously appropriated for by the legislature for early and effective preparations for the elections. But the National Assembly, a week after receipt of the letter, precisely on the 24th of last month, adjourned for its yearly recess without considering the request.