Trouble is not over yet for the Chairman and members of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, (SURE-P) as the National Assembly on Monday came down heavily on the committee calling for its restructuring.
The National Assembly joint committee chairman, Senator Magnus Abe however adjourned the meeting with the management of the Programme sine die following their inability to convince the committee on the series of spendings, asking them to put their house together before coming back.
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) had last week called for the scrap of the SURE-P saying it was a duplication of efforts between the programme and other government agencies which they were using to siphon the economy of the nation.
The joing committee however queried the spending of N2.2billion by the secretariat of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme also know as SURE-P within a period of four months and demanded that the programme’s committee should explain a N3.5billion spent on Public Works Programme, which is a youth employment scheme in 2012.
The committee further raised issues on the N75million on local project tours by members of the programme in four months. But, the Chairman of the SURE-P, Dr. Christopher Kolade, while responding to questions raised by members of the committee said a total of N8.9billion was used to procure 800 mass transit buses, which is a part of the 1, 200 buses which would cost a total of N15billion.
The joint committee was however displeased and frowned that Kolade could not give details of the beneficiaries and how the buses were allocated. Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Magnus Abe, directed that the programme committee should furnish it with the details of how the N2.2billion was spent.
He said SURE-P should also explain in details how the buses were procured, the beneficiaries, and the modalities for the repayments for the loans. Meanwhile, the SURE-P budget for 2013 totals N273.522billion, out of which N27billion was earmarked for Public Works Programme.
“This money is different from other oil money that we have been sharing because it emanates from the contribution of all Nigerians. That is the reason we demand clarity in your explanation because we made promises to Nigerians concerning the SURE-P.
“But the issue of details of expenditure, we hope to get them on Tuesday. If you look at some of the issues raised on how 2012 budget was spent, on health intervention, explanation is required on how N3bilion was spent. “, the chairman of the joint committee, Magnus Abe said.