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INEC To Register 70M Voters, Explains N15B Budget Increase

Source: SAINT MUGAGA - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, August 09, (THEWILL) - As the House of Representatives resumes plenary on Wednesday to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) budget, its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said about 70 million voters are expected to be registered in the proposed fresh voter registration exercise.

He also explained that the N15.02 billion increase in INEC budget from an initial amount of N74.7 billion to N89.7 was a supplementary budget for funding the gap of the appropriation earlier made to the commission in 2010 Appropriation Act.

Jega who gave the explanation while defending the commission’s budget before the House of Representatives committee on electoral matters said they were looking at an estimated voting population of 70 million voters.

According to the Chairman, N222 million was earmarked for voter education, honoraria for the conduct of fresh voter registration got N10.8 billion, training got N503 million, ICT N45.8 billion, logistics and transport N3.7 billion, voter registry N10 million, Direct Data Capturing Machine (without profit machine) and DDC machine with a 30 profit margin of 30% at the cost of N74.7 billion.

He said the N15 billion increased supplementary budget is made up of N5.4 billion for the review of voter register, N2 billion for logistics requirement for 2011 elections, N3 billion for 150,000 units of transparent collapsible boxes, N1.4 billion for the purchase of operational vehicles, N1.2 billion as finance and accounts for 2011 elections and N700 million for the conduct of 2010 bye-elections.

According to him, both the funds for the voter registration and the supplementary budget have been collapsed into one request because the items were integrated and complementary to each other both in the voter registration and in the conduct of the 2011 elections.

Defending the N5.5 billion earmarked for the review of the voter register, the INEC boss said even though a new register would be compiled, the electoral Act has mandated the commission to display the register for objections and complaints, after which all observations must be corrected before the register is certified for election.

Meanwhile, each person engaged for the conduct of the registration of voters will be entitled to N30, 000 as honorarium. The Chairman explained that "on the issue of payment of personnel, as I promise, we are going to be very transparent in what we do. And for the first time, we have indicated that we are going to recruit NYSC members and if we recruit them, we are going to pay them the same allowances.

"But there is going to be an INEC staff who will be the supervisor. And that is why the allowances we are given here, N30, 000 is for the corpers that we are going to engage to manage these machines. Those who are going to supervise them will get their allowances from the personnel cost, which is integrated into the submission we made under operations."