06 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Downstream), have criticized Dr Christopher Kolade, Chaiman of the Subsidy Re-investment and empowerment Progrmme, SURE-P, over poor performance.
Dr Kolade incurred the wrath of the two sister committees when he appeared before them to defend the agency’s budget.
The lawmakers wondered how the body spent close to N40 billion of the 2012 budget, with little impact on the people.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Magnus Abe, PDP, Rivers South-East, queried the Chairman of SURE-P for spending N27 billion, N4 billion and N2.2 billion on Youth Empowerment Programme, Mass Transit Scheme and Secretariat services in its 2012 appropriation with little job done.
The lawmakers also frowned at the N75 million the body claimed to have spent on local tours and travels in only four months-on inspection of its ongoing projects across the country, adding that the agency deviated from its original mandate.
Kolade, who appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee for the second time to defend SURE-P’s 2013 budget, however requested for time to bring evidence of spending before Friday as the lawmakers appeared visibly dissatisfied with his presentation and explanations.
The lawmakers also faulted the body over its claim of creating about 10,000 jobs. Senator Abe said, “I don’t think this your explanation will go anywhere, you collected N27 billion and you say you are going to create 50,000 jobs. I think you need to have a document that actually explains how the lives of those 50,000 will be transformed and how you are going to attain from point A to B.”
In his contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, Hon. Peterside Dakuku, said, “I don’t think there is anything that you will say now that will convince anybody.
“Please just get the documents across to us. If eventually the documentation convinces us, then, we will be able to sustain that proposal; if it does not, we will move the funds elsewhere, where it will have an added value.
“I’m sure that this is one hearing that Nigerians will be interested in.”
The legislators also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately change the present status of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment
Programme, SURE-P, to a Commission, pointing out that it had become imperative to upgrade the agency to a full fledged commission, considering
that the SURE-P’s assignment was just interventionist in nature, on existing projects.
They predicted therefore,that people engaged by the agency may have to find something else to do, when it concludes its job.