The Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) initiative appears to be fast becoming a mirage as Commissioners for Finance in South-West States have decried the non-payment of fund.
Rising from a meeting of the South West Finance Commissioners in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, the spokesman of the body who also is the Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Prince Adedeji Adelabu, said if the outcome of a meeting in Abuja on the distribution of the SURE-P fund were anything to go by, the initiative was “unsure”.
The Commissioner said the FG had made it clear at the Friday meeting that there was no money to be distributed as SURE-P fund contrary to claims by Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that savings for all the tiers of government for the month of February had hit approximately N36 billion.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had last week, signed a publication claiming that whereas total savings accruable to the federal government for the period under review was N16,292,783,505.15, savings for the 36 states of the federation amounted to N12,885,318,165.66 while N6,371,134,020.62 accrued to the 774 local government councils in the country to the programme.
“At our last meeting in Abuja on Friday, it was cleare that SURE is no more sure and it is now established that there is no money anywhere to be distributed as SURE-P. The explanation of Federal Government now is that money distributed to us already has included the SURE-P that they promised to distribute to us”, he said.
Adelabu said if the FG’s stance that the SURE-P fund was part of the money distributed to States was true, it would pose a great accountability challenge to States as some States have already set up committees to manage their shares of the subsidy proceeds, even as the Local Governments were eagerly expecting their own share of the fund to carry out dedicated projects.
“ Imagine when you know that what you are going to spend is N10,000 and you have only budgeted for N10,000, where will savings come again? And that is exactly what has happened. There is nothing; no savings in the real sense,” he said.
The Commissioner added that this would lead to expectation crisis and lost hope as this would cause a lot of constraints for States and Local Governments finances in carrying out some of the capital projects which the people are already expecting States and Local Governments to do.
Adelabu stressed the need for joint efforts between states and local governments as only a tier of government may not be able to achieve any meaningful development based on the subsidy proposal.
Last modified: April 23, 2012