30 November 2012

Nigeria: Sure-P Expends N70 Billion in Four Months

The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has expended N70 billion within the space of four month of its inception.

The Chairman SURE-P, Dr. Christopher Kolade, made this statement yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing aimed at sensitising the public about the activities of the sub-committee.

The committee which was set up by the Federal Government with the approval of the National Assembly is part of the Federal Government's strategy to ensure proper utilisation of the fuel subsidy funds through different projects.

According to him, the project under the SURE-P are Federal Government projects.

He added that the government was anxious to demonstrate to Nigerians that there would be proper oversight of this projects.

He stated that from the month of July, the committee had paid out N62 billion and has in progress, committed N7.5 billion to doing other projects.

He further stated that the problem of project implementation in Nigeria was that contractors are not well paid for the work done thus they abandon the project.

Kolade emphasised that the committee would work to ensure SURE-P's goals are pursued and achieved, adding that projects are now being verified and certified by the committee and payments are made directly to contractors without intermediary.

However, he urged Nigerians to collaborate and support the programme, saying it is for the benefit of all.

The National Assembly had on Wednesday canvassed the immediate scrapping of SURE-P for allegedly spending huge sums of money on moribund projects.

The lawmakers at a joint session noted that the SURE-P committee had failed to impact on the lives of Nigerians through clear cut infrastructural provision.

The observation was made when Kolade, appeared before the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives to defend his 2013 budget proposal.

A member of the Committee, Hon Peter Akpatason (Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency) noted that all the interventions made by the SURE-P fell into existing projects of the Federal Government being handled by relevant agencies.

Akpatason added that the SURE-P projects fell within the existing scope of Federal Government responsibilities.

Another member of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, said that the existence of SURE-P was an indication that the Federal Government had lost confidence on the ability of the ministries to carry out their mandates.

He said the money given to SURE-P ought to have been given to the ministries.

He said: "I see confusion somewhere in all these. It is either you give the money to the ministries or you give SURE-P the money."It is not good for one person to award a contract and another body comes to pay for it.

Goje lamented that the SURE-P was another avenue to spend money on overhead even though when there were complaints that overhead was taking a larger chunk of the national budget.

He also accused the Kolade-led committee of achieving only about 35 per cent of its 2012 budget.

In his presentation, Kolade told the lawmakers that the sum of N135 billion had accrued to the committee so far being Federal Government share of the subsidy.

He listed some of the projects where the funds have been applied to include social safety nets like maternal and child health, public works for youths, mass transit, vocational training centres and culture and tourism (capacity building) which gulped N16.7billion.

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