INEC To Engage 360,000 Staff For April Polls

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, Feb 17, (THEWILL) - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today announced that it would recruit over 360,000 personnel for the conduct of the 2011 polls.

It also disclosed that each electoral officer would be paid N10, 000 per election for each of the polling unit across the country.

National Chairman of the commission, Professor Attahiru Jega made the disclosure during a budget defence hearing with the Senate Committee on INEC.

In the same vein he informed that INEC has suspended the recruitment of 4,000 permanent staff which would have cost the commission N320 million.

However the Commission he said would still recruit staff immediately after the election.

According to him the sum of N99 billion has been set aside for the honorarium for the staff of the Commission during the election adding that each officer would receive N10, 000 as against N5, 000 paid during the 2007 elections.

The increment Jega stated was due to inflation and complexity of the process noting however, that one cannot compare 2007 with 2011.

On the possible downward review of the 2011 commission budget in comparison with other ministries and agencies of government, he said; "in our own case, this is election year and we need a lot of funds for overhead. Under normal circumstances, yes, the budget could be reviewed downward but this is 2011 and an election year and we require funds for overhead.

"We have been able to satisfy the Ministry of Finance of our prudence. Yes, if not election year, we would have done with a budget of less than 30 per cent."

On the N320 million set aside for the recruitment of staff, Jega said that the commission decided to put off the idea for now noting, "from our assessment, we felt there were many inadequacies about the previous exercise. We want to bring in new staff who can add value. We don't want to rush. Once the election is behind us, we shall do the audit of the staff and know the gaps.

"There are no substitutes to recruitment of ad-hoc staff and the 360,000 staff needed for the conduct of the general elections could not be employed as permanent staff of INEC.

Presently Jega disclosed that there are12, 000 staff in the employment of the commission, but added that at the end of the planned recruitment, the staff strength would be beefed up to 16,000.