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SURE-P: Okonjo-Iweala, Senate disagree over N15bn monthly remittance

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IMAGE: Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala »



The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Senate Ad Hoc Committee on SURE-P headed by the Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi on Tuesday disagreed over the formula used to arrive at the N15bn monthly remittances to the SURE-P.

This happened when the minister appeared before the committee.

The committee queried the minister for remitting a flat rate every month to the SURE-P account when proceeds from petroleum sales were not stable from one month to another.

Members also faulted the minister’s disbursement of N500bn to the states and local governments, and attributed the development for the reason why the programme failed to meet the yearnings and aspiration of the masses.

But Okonjo-Iweala asked the committee to invite specific government agencies that had failed to effectively implement the aspect of the programme, which the members of the public might be complaining about.

She maintained that the programme had achieved its purpose in the areas of quality healthcare provision to children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

She also said part of the resources accruing to the SURE-P had been used for rail rehabilitation, road reconstruction and graduate employment, with 2,000 interns on its payroll.

Okonjo-Iweala noted that corporate firms were already partnering with her ministry on the scheme by requesting to employ about 600 beneficiaries.

She said, “The programme is achieving the desired results. There is no missing money and the balance of the N500bn has been shared to states and local governments.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the figure has already been published; we need to understand the basis for which the calculations were done.

“We are in a federation; the states should answer questions on the N500bn already shared to them.”

The senators nevertheless faulted the remittance of part of the SURE-P fund to the Stabilisation Account and Ecological Funds, which according to them, were problematic

The minister disagreed with them and stated that both accounts were not problematic because “every single naira of the fund is intact.”

She also promised to hand over the graduate scheme to the Labour ministry as soon as it matured and working well.

The minister said that the N500bn allegedly missing from the account of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme had been shared to the 36 states of the federation and the 774 local governments.

She also explained that the $49.8bn, which the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, claimed was not in the Federation Account, was also intact.

Okonjo-Iweala explained that the total subsidy funds between February 2012 and September 2013 was N816bn.

She said N300bn out of the amount had been remitted to the SURE-P account at the federal level, while N500bn was shared to the states and local government councils within the period.

Article Credit: Punch Newspaper

Updated 5 Years ago

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