The chairman of the board constituted to oversee the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Dr. Christopher Kolade, has blamed the seeming delay in implementing the programme which was designed by the federal government to ease the hardship faced by Nigerians on setting up of structures.
He also hinted that the money available for the execution of the SURE programme has been minimally reduced to a meagre amount because, after negotiations between the federal government and labour unions, what was achieved was only a partial removal of fuel subsidy.
“That (the amount) has been published because it (subsidy) has only been partially removed. Now, the money expected is smaller and we know that already, and we have designed our programme accordingly,”he stated.
Kolade gave this hint while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the SURE programme board presented a preliminary report to President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday at the presidential villa Abuja.
On the speed at which the programme is being executed, he said, “If you remember that the whole programme started only in February and since it is a new programme, it will take time to build the structure and arrange who is to do what. So there is nothing wrong with the pace so far and one of the reasons why we are reporting now is that we think we have done all the preliminary work and we should now push ahead a bit faster.
“Since we were inaugurated in mid February, this is the first time that we are coming to present a report to Mr. President. So, all we have done today is to tell him how we are organising the work, how we are working with the other parts of the public service which are handling the projects. We have done that, so that he knows what is going on. Everybody now knows how far we have gone and also know about what we have done so far, so we are going back to build on that.”
On possible resistance from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), Kolade said, “We have not experienced any resistance from any MDAs so far and this is what I explained to the President this morning. We have received cooperation from them because everybody understands that this programme is meant to deliver some benefit to the Nigerian people; so we have meant no resistance”.
He, however, declined to comment on discussions currently going on in the National Assembly, saying “they are discussing how the subsidy fund was managed which has nothing to do with what we are doing. Our work is on how to manage the funds saved from subsidy and use it to prosecute certain projects”.