Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Federal Government has dismissed reports that it was withholding Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, funds, as alleged by the Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on SURE-P, Sen. Abdul Ningi.
His position was aired by a television station on Friday but the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, reacted, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, saying that there was no truth in Ningi’s allegation.
“As soon as the Sure-P Committee certifies any project for payment, money is released promptly through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN”, the minister clarified in the statement issued by her Media Adviser, Ms. Constance Ikokwu.
The minister explained further, “A committee under the chairmanship of Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) set up by the president, reviews the implementation of various projects/programmes and makes recommendation for payment. Whatever is recommended is promptly paid directly into the accounts of contractors rather than through Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS), within 5-7 working days.
“This process was put in place to fast-track payment to contractors operating different programmes under Sure-P. It is after the committee has visited and certified that the job is satisfactorily done that payment is made. The Ministry of Finance has absolutely nothing to do with the certification process and does not delay payments”.
The minister disclosed that N113billion has been expended on various Sure-P projects and programmes, with a balance of N80billion available and that as such it was not true that programmes were being hampered due to lack of funds.