Posted by News Express | 16 August 2014 | 3,283 times
The Ministry of Finance has dismissed the claim by the Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Senator Abdul Ningi, that the ministry is withholding funds meant for SURE-P, thereby stalling projects.
“We wish to categorically state that the Ministry of Finance does not withhold funds belonging to SURE-P. As soon as the SURE-P committee certifies any project for payment, money is released promptly through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” said Constance C. Ikokwu, Media Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
According to Ikokwu in a statement released in Abuja, a copy of which was made available to News Express, “The facts of the matter are as follows: N268.37 billion was appropriated for SURE-P in the 2014 Budget for various projects and programmes.
“A Committee under the Chairmanship of Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) set up by the President, reviews the implementation of various projects/programmes and makes recommendation for payment. Whatever is recommended is promptly paid directly into the accounts of contractors rather than through Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS), within 5-7 working days.
“This process was put in place to fast-track payment to contractors operating different programmes under SURE-P. It is after the committee has visited and certified that the job is satisfactorily done that payment is made. The Ministry of Finance has absolutely nothing to do with the certification process and does not delay payments.
“The public should also know that as of August 2014, N113 billion has been expended on various SURE-P projects and programmes, with a balance of N80 billion available. It is therefore, not true that programmes are being hampered due to lack of funds. The track record shows that all claims that have been certified receive prompt payment.
“It is disappointing that Senator Ningi has continued to peddle wrong information in spite of repeatedly being presented with the facts. The Ministry of Finance hereby reiterates its preparedness to work with the Senator to achieve the stated objectives of SURE-P for the benefit of the public.
“We are sure that Nigerians want to see programmes/projects that follow due process and are executed in a transparent manner. The records are there to prove that indeed this is the case.
The Ministry of Finance strongly supports SURE-P for prudent utilisation of its funds as promised by government and we are against any profligate use of these resources.”
•Photo shows Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala.
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