Monetary policy: NASS hits candidates and parties with campaign spending limit
The National Assembly has considered how much a sponsor can give to a party and how much a political party can spend on a candidate’s election campaign in the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2010 currently before it.
This is when the National Assembly is “cleaning up” the electoral bill before sending it to the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), for the second time, we learned on Saturday from a reliable source. .
In the bill which must be sent to the President for approval at any time, the Independent National Electoral Commission is empowered to set ceilings for donations and expenditures by donors, sponsors, candidates and political parties for the electoral campaign under Section 90 titled “Power to Limit Contribution to Political Party”.
The new section 90 of the act reads: “(1) The commission has the power to impose limits on the amount of money or other assets that an individual may contribute to a political party or candidate , and to require this information on the amount donated and the origin of the funds.
“(2) Any individual, candidate or political party, who exceeds the limit fixed by the commission in subsection (1), commits an offense and is liable, on conviction, to (a) if he is a party policy, a fine not exceeding N10,000,000.00 and forfeiture of the amount donated; and (b) in the case of an individual, a fine of five times the amount of the donation in excess of the limit set by the commission.”
The current Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010, titled “Limitation of Election Expenses”, stipulates that the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a presidential candidate shall be N1 billion; election of the governor, 200 million naira; Electoral seats for members of the Senate and House of Representatives, N40 million and N20 million respectively; election of members of the State House of Assembly, N10m; election for the presidency of a local government area or an area council, N10m; and Election of Councilor in an LGA or Regional Council, N1m.
However, the National Assembly increased the numbers by around 500%, especially for the presidential election.
Article 91 of the new electoral law reads as follows: “(1) Election expenses shall not exceed the sum stipulated in paragraphs (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) and (7).
“(2) The maximum election expenses to be incurred by a presidential candidate shall not exceed N5,000,000,000.00.
“(3) The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of the gubernatorial election shall not exceed N1,000,000,000.00.
“(4) The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate for the seats of Senators and House of Representatives shall not exceed N100,000,000.00 and N70,000,000.00 respectively.”
“(5) In the case of election to the National Assembly, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N30,000,000.00.
“(6) In the case of an election for the presidency of a regional council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N30,000,000.00.
“(7) In the event of a council election to a regional council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N5,000,000.00.”
The National Assembly also increased the fines and prison terms for individuals, groups or organizations that flout the bill.
Lawmakers increase individual donations from N1m to N50m
In the current law, Section 91 states: “(9) No individual or other entity shall donate more than N1,000,000.00 to any candidate.
“(10) A candidate who knowingly acts in violation of this section commits an offense and, if convicted, is liable, in the case of (a) a presidential election, to a fine not exceeding 1,000,000.00 naira or imprisonment for 12 months or both.; (b) election as Governor to a fine of N800,000.00 or imprisonment for nine months or both; (c ) election to the Senate to a fine of N600,000.00 or imprisonment for six months or both; (d) Election to the House of Representatives to a fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for imprisonment for five months or both;
“(e) Election to the State House of Assembly to a fine of N300,000.00 or imprisonment for three months or both; (f) in the case of the Presidency, to a fine of N300,000.00 or imprisonment for three months or both; and (g) election of a councillor, to a fine of N100,000.00 or imprisonment for one month or both.
Section 11 prescribes a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for nine months or both for anyone who knowingly acts in violation of subsection 9, after conviction.
Section 12 further states: “An accountant who falsifies, conspires with, or assists a candidate to falsify or falsify any document relating to his or her election expenses or election receipt or donation or, in any way aids and abets the violation of the provision of this section of this Act commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 10 years.
However, the Election Bill increased individual donations from N1 million to N50 million in Section 91(9).
The amended Section 91 reads: “(9) No individual or other entity shall donate to a candidate more than N50,000,000.00.”
In violation of the proposed law, the section further reads: “(10) A candidate who knowingly acts in violation of this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of one percent of the amount authorized as a campaign spending limit under this bill, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both.
“(11) Any person who knowingly acts in violation of subsection (9) shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Naira 500,000.00 or imprisonment for nine months or both.
“(12) An accountant who falsifies, or conspires or assists a candidate to falsify or falsify a document relating to his expenses in an election or to a receipt or donation for the election or, in any way or, aids and abets the contravention of the provisions of this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of N3,000,000.00 or imprisonment for three years or both.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly was still re-reading the bill on Friday.
A senior National Assembly official told our correspondent that after the political arm of parliament – the Senate and the House of Representatives – amended the bill, the bureaucratic arm proofread the legislation before it was passed. forwarded to the President.
The source revealed that the National Assembly was careful about the bill to avoid another rejection by Buhari.
According to the official, the parliament is particularly working on issues raised by some civil society organizations recently.
A coalition of 12 civil society organizations on December 30, 2021, said its review of the election bill had led to the discovery of cross-reference errors in five sections and grammatical errors in two sections.
Duplicate provisions were also found in three sections and conflicting provisions in one section of the bill.
They therefore called on the National Assembly to carry out a thorough review of the bill to ensure that all drafting, drafting and reference deficiencies were filled since the President had refused his assent earlier.
CSOs included Yiaga Africa, International Press Center, Center for Disabled Citizens, Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation and Institute for Media and Society.
The others are the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism, Partners for Electoral Reform, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center and the Nigerian Network of Non-Governmental Organisations.
Speaking to our correspondent, the official said: ‘This bill deserves a thorough cleaning, so we are taking the time to do that, after which it will be passed on. We try to avoid any errors that could justify the president denying assent to the bill. We take our time to cross the “T” and point the “I”.
The National Assembly last Tuesday amended the bill for the second time by accepting the candidacy by consensus and setting new conditions for political parties in nominating candidates for the elections.
The president had vetoed the electoral bill and sent it back to the National Assembly over the restriction of political parties to the direct primary, insisting on direct and indirect options as well as consensual options.
The House had amended Section 87 of the Elections Act 2010, which is Section 84 of the Elections Act (Amendment) Bill, by inserting the indirect primary option.
The Senate, however, not only added the indirect primary, but also the adoption by consensus of candidates for election by a political party.
In passing different amendments to the bill, the Senate and House will need to refer the versions to a conference committee to reconcile the differences and report back for final adoption and forwarding to the President for approval.
However, the Senate and House of Representatives took a shorter route by reversing their rulings on the amendments last week and amending the election bill again.
This time, the House agreed with the Senate on consensus, while both houses adopted the same conditions set for the option. ,,
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]