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Budget Office: N179bn Realised From SURE-P In 2012

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 12, (THEWILL) – The Director General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogwu, Tuesday disclosed that the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has paid into its special account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the sum of N179, 999 billion between February 2012 and January this year.

Okogwu, who disclosed this before the House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the SURE-P said out of the N179bn, the sum of N74,957bn had been paid to contractors.

He said the sum of N1bn was released to the SURE-P committee as running cost of its secretariat with the sum of N536,350m expended already.

According to him, for the months of February to April 2012, the sum of N45bn was paid into the account; N15bn for the month of May; N3.947bn, N11bn and N15bn was credited for the month of June.

He addded that the sum of N15bn was deposited as proceed for the month of July, same for August, September, October, November and December 2012 bringing the sub total to N164,999bn.

He explained that in January 2013, the sum of N15bn was paid into the account.

The DG also disclosed that projects amounting to N17, 519 bn had been executed under the platform of Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, with specification on road projects.

He said road projects under the Ministry of Works gulped the sum of N53,686bn within the one year under review while Railway projects under the auspices of Ministry of Transport has been boosted with the sum of N16,134bn.

According to him, the sum of N3,803bn was paid out for jobs done under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency with specifications on Maternal and Child Health.

He said the Mass Transit Programme has consumed N4 bn while N1bn was made available to the SURE-P office as running cost.

In his presentation, chairman of SURE-P, Dr. Christopher Kolade, disclosed that the SURE-P committee was active for only six months last year since funds were released to them in June.

He said one of the challenges faced by the programme was how to convince Nigerians that the programme would benefit them.

Kolade said that SURE-P committee was the result of Federal Government policy of ensuring that savings from partial withdrawal of subsidy on petrol results in distinct development projects.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her presentation said that her office was not in charge of the SURE-P finances.

Earlier, Hon. Dakuku Peterside ( PDP-Rivers), the chairman, House committee on Petroleum Resources ( Downstream),said that since the introduction of the programme, it had been marred with mixed feelings.

He said that if the amount of money set aside for the programme was effectively and efficiently managed, it would make a difference.

It would be recalled that the House on Nov. 15, mandated a Joint Committee to investigate the mandate and operations of SURE-P.