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SURE-P spent N70b last year – Kolade
The Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Projects (SURE-P) Committee, Dr. Christopher Kolade, yesterday said the work of his committee is not duplicating the activities of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He said this when he addressed State House correspondents after presenting the 2012 Annual Report of SURE-P to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Said he: “What people need to do is study what is going on and see in what ways SURE-P is adding value to what is already on ground. Nobody is denying that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are working. That is what government is there for. But the President, when he saw that there was going to be a special fund from the subsidy withdrawal, decided that he would use this fund in a special way to intervene.
“So that if for instance, a road contract was awarded, say in 2006 and it is still not finished, but by injecting some funds from SURE-P, you can accelerate the completion of that road. These are special funds and they are special intervention funds. They can not be compared with what is ongoing in the ministries because ministries are doing their normal work.
“For example, the railway system, in the past, it was not possible to move from Lagos to Kano by rail because there were gaps on the way, places where bridges had broken down. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) did its best to get those bad portions repaired, but with these special intervention funds in 2012, SURE-P repaired the bridges, roads and since the end of November 2012, it is possible to ride on a train from Lagos to Kano.
“We were even told by a cement company that because of this possibility to travel by train from Lagos to Kano, they are transporting their cement in bulk by rail from Ewekoro to Minna. That is adding value and it doesn’t disturb the normal work of the Nigeria Railway Corporation.”
Dr. Kolade said the money for the SURE-P projects goes to the contractors that are working on the projects and not to any political party.
He said: “We are satisfied with our performance in the last one year. Although we were inaugurated in February, we did not get the first release of funds until July. So the first six months of the year had passed. In the remaining six months, we did work to the tune of over N70 billion.
“If we had N180 billion for the whole year and we spent N70 billion plus in six months, it means we worked at the rate we were supposed to work. You know that the beginning of something new is bound to take off slowly, it cannot suddenly start running. It was a normal start and it was accelerating as we went through the year.”
On the focus of SURE-P for 2013, he said: “If you look at our budget, it is still the same areas such as social safety nets, things that will help the health of women, children, employment to young people, things that will enable these young people express themselves as citizens of this country and in areas of infrastructure such as building of roads, completion of rails.
Source: The Nation
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