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Govt to scrap SURE-P, amnesty programme


sure-pThe Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) may be scrapped from next year, going by provisions in the Federal Government’s 2016-18 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), currently awaiting endorsement of the Senate.

Besides, the Presidential Amnesty Programme may be stopped in 2017, as the MTEF document showed that the allocation for the scheme, which has been halved against next year, would be scrapped thereafter.

Essentially, the document made no mention of SURE-P during the framework period, affirming the administration’s disposition to stop fuel subsidy, which was a fallout of the programme, from next year.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said in Abuja on Monday that the Federal Government would begin a gradual withdrawal of fuel subsidy next year.

Kachikwu explained that the move was informed by assessed reduced revenue to the government’s coffers, mainly due to falling oil prices.

SURE-P was scripted by the Federal Government in January 2012, through the channelling of its own share of the subsidy reinvestment funds into a combination of programmes, to stimulate the economy and alleviate poverty through provision of critical infrastructure and safety net projects.

It was specifically designed to invest the ‘savings’ accrued from the fuel subsidy reduction on vulnerable populations in Nigeria, by initiating a robust social safety net programme to improve their lives.

In the MTEF document, the allocation to the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was reduced by half to N20 billion next year. Its subsequent omission thereafter affirmed that the scheme has been slated to be discontinued.

The amnesty programme was initiated during the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as strategic incentive for militants in the Niger Deilta to drop their arms, embrace peace and pursue various lawful professional trainings, within and outside the country.

The MTEF document projected oil price of $38 per barrel next year and $50 per barrel against 2018. The underlying GDP growth projections were put at 4.4 per cent for next year, rising to 5.1 per cent in 2018.

There were high expectations that agriculture and solid minerals would attract higher allocations in the budgets during the period of the framework.

Spending on the new administration’s social investment is projected at N500 billion, explaining partly the rise in total expenditure by the Federal Government to N6.08 trillion in 2016. This is in line with a part of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) manifestos.

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