By Okey Ndiribe
ABUJA—THE joint committees on Downstream, Niger Delta Ministry and Local Governments in the House of Representatives yesterday summoned Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, to explain his ministry’s role in the Federal Government’s Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.
The joint Committee also insisted that governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, must appear next Tuesday, though he had appealed earlier that he would be unavoidably absent.
Dakuku Peterside, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, made this disclosure at a meeting with stakeholders.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the National Assembly’s inquest into the activities of the agency would be guided by national interest.
The meeting, however, provided fresh perspectives on the activities of the benefitting ministries and agencies.
Mike Onolememen, Minister of Works and Muhammad Ali Pate, Minister of State for Health, spoke extensively on their challenges and constraints in the implementation of programmes in their ministries.
In the course of proceedings, it was also discovered that most of the projects awarded by the Ministry of Works were awarded without due process.
However, Ministry of Works agreed that fragmentation of projects, which is fast becoming the order of the day, served nobody’s interest and must, therefore, be addressed in the interest of the people.
Like most people, Pate agreed that many people did not trust government because of experiences of the past.
He explained that” SURE-P, was meant to help regain peoples’ confidence in government.”
Peterside, nonetheless, identified some troubling issues around SURE-P that had dominated public discourse for a considerable number of months now.
He said: “They include the agency’s inconsistent status with the President’s objectives at the inception of the programme, the perceived duplication of normal activities of ministries, the belief that SURE-P is a political tool in the hands of a certain interest groups.
”The perception that the agency has done little or nothing to create jobs, protect the vulnerable and engender the much needed economic transformation of Nigeria.”