By Dele Sobowale
Part 1 in this series ended with the rationale for discontinuing subsidies. The second part will summarise the key objectives of the SURE Programme. Then it will start with the in-depth analysis of the programme and leave it to Nigerians to decide if the programme is convincing.
13 The objectives of the proposed Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme are:
a To mitigate the immediate impact of the petroleum subsidy discontinuation on the population, but particularly for the poor and vulnerable segments…
b To accelerate economic transformation through investments in critical infrastructure projects…
c To lay a foundation for the successful development of a national safety net programme that is better targeted at the poor and most vulnerable on a continuous basis.
That part of the document ended by making the following declaration. “This document therefore focuses on the portion of these resources that the Federal Government is responsible for administering. The following components of the national programme will be implemented over the next 3 to 4 years”.
Programmes listed in the sure document
Maternal and Child Health Services: to be established nationwide with 3 million pregnant women as potential beneficiaries; mobilization of [unspecified] thousands of female community and village health workers.
Public Works/Women and Youth Employment Programme: designed “to provide temporary employment [underlining mine] to youth in labour intensive public works; the “direct women and youth employment intervention will target….youth from the poorest populations”; “these women and youth shall receive payments based on the amount of work put in”; “the level of remuneration …will ensure the self-selection of only the poor”.
Urban Mass Transit Scheme: “objective of this scheme is to increase mass transit availability”; “the project will involve the provision of zero-interest loans to establishes transport operators…
Vocational Training Schemes: “There will be vocational training centres in all the states in the country and FCT.
Road Infrastructure Projects: “The roads that are to be completed under this programme will cover a total distance of 1,326 km. From our analysis, [unspecified] thousands of jobs will be created”.
Rail Transport Projects: “This component of the programme will entail the rehabilitation and restoration od our abandoned railway infrastructure and the construction of new standard gauge railway lines, thereby providing alternative means of transportation of people and goods across the country…The following specific rail routes will be completed under this [SURE] programme… Total: 3,877 km.
Water and Agriculture Projects: “This programme component will harness Nigeria’s abundant water resources ….through sustainable food production and water conservation..
Irrigation Projects: The revitisation of the irrigation projects will increase local production of rice by over 400,000 tons per year and other food crops, thereby reducing importation of food into Nigeria…[19 Irrigation projects were listed covering 28,850 hectacres and envisaged to increase output by 422,000 tons per year].
Urban Water Supply Projects: “The Rural and Urban Supply Projects will upon completion, increase the level of water supply available to about 10 million people [or 7% of the population]. It will also increase the national access to water supply from the current levels of 58% to about 75% [an increase of 17% meaning 24.65 million people]. NOTE: 22 water projects were listed.
Selected Power Projects: This component will contribute towards the power sector reforms by improving the generation capacity through hydro and coal power plants…. The programme will provide counterpart funding for the construction of the large Manbilla hydropower project that will generate an additional 2,600 Megawatts of electric power..[it] will also provide funding to complete..17 Small and medium …projects with a cumulative capacity of 140.275 [one hundred and forty point two hundred and seventy five] MW…The programme will provide [unspecified] counterpart funding for PPPs with the private sector for the development of Coal Power projects in Enugu, Benue, Kogi and Gombe…to generate 1,000MWs of power.
Petroleum/NNPC Projects: The main objective of this component is to restore and improve domestic refining capacity and prevent shortfalls in supply of petroleum products…Three new refineries will be built under counterpart funding arrangement with the private sector in Bayelsa (100,000 bbls/day); Kogi (100,000 bbls/day) and Lagos (200,000 bbls/day)…[Unspecified] thousands of workers will be employed at each of these locations.
The refineries will be completed 3 years after contract award [underlining mine]. Upon completion the refineries will contribute about 30 million litres of PMS to the domestic market, thereby making Nigeria a net exporter of value added petroleum products.
ICT Projects: This initiative can potentially generate 70,000 new jobs across the country and create another 350,000 spin off jobs over the next 4 to 5 years..
CONCLUSION: The proposed Subsidy Reinvestment Programme…will not only lead to the transformation of public infrastructure in Nigeria, but will also ensure the gainful employment of millions of Nigerians who were hitherto unemployed. This will enhance the socioeconomic wellbeing of our people.
NB. That is the total summary of the SURE Project; certainly nothing significant has been left out. Nigerians can determine for themselves if the project is credible.