SURE-P has so far gulped N480 bn – DG, Federal Budget office, Bright Okogu

Dr Bright Okogu, Director-General, Federal Budget Office on Wednesday said the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has from inception in 2012 taken about N480 billion to execute its mandate.

Okogu disclosed this while presenting a paper titled: “Three Years of Delivering SURE-P mandate: The Benefits and the Costs” at a two-day Stakeholders’ Conference organised by the SURE-P in Lokoja.

He said the programme had an annual allocation of N180 billion from the Federation Account adding that in 2012, SURE-P got N126 billion; 2013, N180 billion and 2014, N135 billion.

Okogu said there were several other ways the money could have been expended but President Goodluck Jonathan after several and wide consultations with Nigerians insisted the money be used to fund SURE-P.

The programme, in line with its mandate, has according to him, intervened in Social Safety Net, health, road infrastructure, bridges and rail transportation among others.

“The purpose here is to do what the people can see and enjoy”, he said.

Okogu however feared that the declining crude oil price at the international market may adversely affect the survival of the SURE-P.

He said that SURE-P would last only as long as the gap between the pump price and the actual crude price continued to exist.

“Survival of the SURE-P is contingent on the continued price gap”, he said adding that in view of the changing dynamics of the global oil market and discovery of oil in many African countries the competition might get tougher.

The Director General also called for reintroduction of toll gates on roads to provide the necessary funds for their maintenance rather than wholly leaving the government or SURE-P to fund the maintenance. (NAN)