The planned passage of the year 2022 budget of N16.39 trillion this week by the National Assembly may have hit brick walls as the financial requirements for the 2023 general elections are yet to be presented to both legislative chambers by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

This is as the National Population Commission, NPC declared that the census slated for next year would gulp a whopping N400 billion.

Specifically, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), on Wednesday held a special session with a view to receiving the required details on the 2023 general elections from INEC but the inability of its chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu to appear, thwarted the efforts.

Yakubu’s representative, who is a commissioner in INEC, Zuru Abdulrahman Abdul told committee members that only the chairman of the electoral umpire could give the required details needed by them.

“Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished committee, we have listened to you and appreciate the concern on funding the 2023 general elections as regards the need to capture some of the projected expenses in the 2022 budget.

“But such financial details can only be given by our chairman who is presently abroad and billed to return on Sunday or Monday morning.

“So, in the light of this, financial details requested for shall be made available on Monday next week,” Abdul explained.

Consequently, the chairman of the committee, Senator Jibrin Barau ruled for adjournment of the session to Monday next week.

In a brief media chat with journalists thereafter, he said the latest development will not make passage of the 2022 budget this week possible.

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“2023 general elections and projected national head counts slated for next year are very important (and this is) the reason we want to make provisions for them in the 2022 budget.

“As a result of the importance of the two, the passage of the 2022 budget will no longer be possible this week as earlier planned and clearly stated on our timetable,” Senator Barau stressed.

In the timetable released in October, a report on the budget was supposed to have been laid by the Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, and passage fixed for Wednesday or Thursday this week.

In line with Senator Barau’s disclosure to journalists, the Senate at the end of its session yesterday adjourned to Tuesday, December 21, strongly indicating that the budget may be laid, considered and passed that day, signaling a week behind schedule.

Meanwhile, the NPC chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra told the committee that the total estimated cost for the national census slated for next year is N400 billion

The committee at the end of the session said submissions gotten from NPC will be added to the expected one from INEC on Monday next week as part of the report to be laid before the Senate for consideration and passage.

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