URGES STAFF TO BE CALM, AS THE COMMISSION IS DETERMINING TO MEET THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CHALLENGES

By Vincess Okushi

An 18 billion Naira supplementary budget has been defended by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) saying it aimed at addressing issues related to staff welfare and allowances in the commission.

The commission’s team led by the Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while defending the supplementary budget before the House of Reps Committee on Electoral Matters and the Senate Committee on INEC on Wednesday 1st November, 2023.

Said the Commission had earlier sent a proposal of 18 billion Naira to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and defended it before the Executive, who referred it to the National Assembly for approval.

During the budget defense, the INEC Chairman explained that “N10.6 billion out of the sum would enable the Commission to pay its staff the 40% increase in Peculiar Allowance approved by the Federal Government in April this year.

At the same time, over N3 billion is meant to pay INEC Staff the award of N35,000 approved for each Public Servant across the country for six months by the Federal Government, as well as the new Duty Tour Allowance.

Adding that the Commission will spend N1.6 billion on the conduct of 11 outstanding bye-elections, comprising 5 Federal Constituencies, 4 State Constituencies, and 2 Senatorial Districts.

Another N1.4 billion is for the augmentation of the cost differentials in the budget for the Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi governorship elections

Prof. Mahmood noted that This development is expected to bring relief to the Commission’s staff who have clamored for improved welfare in the face of the economic hardship being experienced due to the removal of the fuel subsidy, and consequent increase in the prices of fuel and other commodities

Moreover, the INEC Chairman in a Consultative Meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), held recently in Abuja, has also appealed for a proper briefing of the commission’s staff in their respective States of its readiness to address the economic challenges faced in the country.

According to him, the six agencies including INEC have not received funds to offset payment of the 40 percent peculiar allowance as approved

The INEC boss expressed concern about the economic hardship being experienced by staff and vowed not to rest in its bid to get the necessary funds to pay the allowances as soon as possible.

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