The Senate joint committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies, Ways, Means, Finance and Budget has called for further consultations with the aim of taking a relook at the proposed US$91.9 million recently presented to the Senate by the National Elections Commission(NEC) for the conduct of the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
The joint committee in a hearing Wednesday June 16,2021 told the Board of Commissioners that amidst the current economic reality of the Country, it is purdent for the Commission to go back to the drawing board and do readjustment of the proposed budget.
According to a release, the committee in its reservations indicated that US$91.9 million seems huge especially when there are lot of competing priorities.
The committee at the same time urged NEC to do complete breakdown of the proposed budget into stages for Legislative consideration.
NEC Chairperson justified that the budget is realistic due to the introduction of biometric voter registration in the 15 counties which will include costs for logistics, equipment, materials, staff, technical experts, training, civic \ Voter education and gender mainstreaming amongst others.
Madam Davidetta Brown-Lasanah further said the Commission intends to establish 14 additional magisterial offices across the Country, adding that this will entail additional cost of infrastructure, equipment and personnel as captured in the budget.
She at the same time told the committee members that for the final half of 2021, the Commission will need US$4million to conduct the pilot project for the Biometric Voter Registration.
Additionally, NEC boss noted that the Commission will need a total of US$41,979,273.86 out of its submission to undertake activities which are a prerequisite for organizing the 2023 general elections.
” These activities include BVR, public outreach, Field and Headquarters Operations, as well as all of the project activities indicated in the budget summary ” she said.
The NEC, according to Chairperson Lasanah, has been conducting elections using the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) technology for the registration of voters.
She further told the committee that in order to successfully transition for the existing OMR system to the Biometric Voter Registration technology, the entire Data Center and the information Technology Infrastructure of the Commission will require restructuring.