The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday explained that intense “pressure” faced by the commission was responsible for the repeated disregard for budgetary appropriation to the commission in its expenditure.
Yakubu said the commission’s budget status gave it the flexibility to move funds from one head to another in its bid to meet with the demands of its mandate.
He stated this at the National Assembly joint committee budget defence session on INEC.
He was responding to question on extra-budgetary spending on its overheads and group insurance items in the 2019 budget.
The question was raised by a member of the House of Representatives, Babangida Ibrahim, who wanted the commission to make public other sources of revenue to warrant such expenditure above approved expenditure.
Yakubu said, “There are some activities we needed to undertake constitutionally and they are time-bound.
“At that time we received no money for the 2019 general elections and we operate a one line budget.
“Recall that, if you look at the Appropriation Act of 2018, the only thing you see there is N45.5bn and we have to prioritize and re-prioritize within the envelope.
“We did not go outside the envelop. It was just a very difficult thing for us, I understand the point made by honourable Babangida, honestly it has been recurring, the argument here is that we moved funds from one head to another and did we now apply for virement?
“You will not see this kind of thing happening in 2019, in 2020 it is not there, it was just sheer pressure to accommodate these activities.”
The matter divided lawmakers who disagree over the propriety of the commission chairman to make extra-budgetary spending.