Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the caucus of the governing All Progressives Congress is considering a budget of N14.82bn for the year 2018.
Out of this fund, the party is proposing to acquire a National Secretariat at the cost of N1.96bn, while N1.3bn is being proposed to be spent on conventions.
This was contained in a memo titled “Financial report for 2016, 2017 and presentation of 2018 budget to the National Caucus” obtained by our reporter in Abuja, on Friday.
The budget, which was prepared and presented to the APC National Caucus by the party’s National Treasurer, Alhaji Bala Gwagwarwa, also proposed that the party should spend N400m for election expenses and N500m to procure vehicles.
Other expenses include: Grants to states/ zones, N400m; membership registration, N25m; women/ Youth activities, N2m; legal costs, N2m, and N2.48bn was earmarked for reimbursement to states and zones.
The party intends to finance this budget largely from the nomination fees, fundraising, levies on elected and appointed office holders and the sale of party membership cards.
The memo, which was distributed to members of the party’s caucus at the last meeting held on Monday, February 26, 2018, was the 8th item on the agenda of the meeting.
It read in part, “Looking ahead of 2018 which is an election year budget, a lot of activities ranging from the organisation of congresses/ primaries, conventions, sensitisation meetings and campaigns are expected.
“The budget must inevitably have to be robust, flexible and capable of being implemented. Baring this in mind, a budget of N14.82bn as shown in the Annexure 2 is being proposed.
“The main sources of income for the 2018 budget are nomination fees (N5.86bn), fundraising (N3.45 bn), membership dues (N4.2 bn), sales of party cards (N1.0 bn), and levies on Elected/Appointed Office holders (N 0.304bn).
On the expenditure side, the major items are: Acquisition of national secretariat (N1. 96bn), conventions (N1.3bn), media /publicity (N1bn), election expenses (N0.4bn), vehicles (N0.05bn), grants to states/zones (N0.4bn), membership registration (N0.2bn), reimbursements to states and zones (N2.48bn).”
The memo further read “In order to ensure funding stability and respectable budget implementation, membership contribution has been identified as crucial.
“Accordingly, a framework to deploy electronic payment system that assures convenience, transparency and ease of reconciliation of payment has been designed.
“This system allows the use of airtime to pay the monthly N100 membership dues by members while bigger payments can be transacted through banking channels customised for the party in all banks.
“This system has been substantially completed except for the negotiation of the revenue sharing formula between the party and the telecoms companies whose platform will be used in collecting the payment and regulatory impediments will soon be resolved, which will substantially support the party’s on-going discussions on revenue sharing formula with the telecoms companies.”
The treasurer further explained in the memo that because of the difficulty the party was facing with its planned engagement of telecoms firms to ease the collection of fees, it had engaged the services of “System Spec (Remita)” as an alternative channel for collection of membership fees.
He expressed the hope that this would be inaugurated soon.
Given further explanations for the basis of his optimism, Gwagwarwa said: “Based on the membership strength of about 10 million and 35 per cent success in collection of membership fees, we are confident that this system will provide sustainable funding for the party.”
The memo also gave insights into the contentious issue of the alleged lack of openness in the income and expenditure of the party’s resources.
This was the subject of the acrimonious relationship between and among members of the party’s National Working Committee before President Muhammadu Buhari empanelled the Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu committee to resolve the crisis within the party.