BY CHINEDU IBEABUCHI
Dr. Christopher Kolade-led Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, committee said states and local governments were frustrating the dreams of the programme as none of them could give account of the fund they received.
The committee also said the Federal Government had disbursed N135 billion since July, five months after inauguration of the programme, with more than N70 billion apportioned so far for road construction.
Addressing pressmen in Lagos, weekend, Nze Nwankpo, Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters and Secretary, SURE-P, said the committee gets N15 billion monthly from the Federal Government, representing 42 percent of the total subsidy fund, while the rest goes to states and local governments.
Skeptical on how the states and local governments are putting their counterpart funds into judicious use, Mr. Chike Okomu, representing persons with disability in the committee said: “The SURE-P is operational within the three levels of government: the Federal, state and Local governments.
“I want Nigerians to ask the states and local governments what they are doing with their SURE-P funds. If the states and local governments should utilise their SURE-P fund very well, it would go a long way in reducing infrastructural deficit in the country. Local governments are supposed to use SURE-P fund to tar their roads. Many of the states are using the SUPE-P to further their nest of corruption.”
In the area of infrastructure, Nwankpo said SURE-P has two components, roads and railways, adding that six federal roads, one in each region as well as rail constructions, one in South and one in North, are under construction.
He said: “Some of the roads we took over have been undergoing construction for over 10 years now and the values have increased by over 300 per cent. What we have done is to increase funding for these roads and have a time frame for the completion of the projects.
“More than N70 billion of the fund has gone into the construction of the roads. These include the Shagamu-Benin Road, East-West Road, Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, Kano-Maduguri Road and Lagos-Lokoja Road.”
“Also, the Federal Government is to disburse N5 billion as its counterpart funding for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, which is expected to be completed before the end of Mr. Jonathan’s tenure.”