- Orders probe into its activities
- Senate in rowdy session over unemployment
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the scrapping of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, directing the Presidential Committee of the agency to close shop.
SURE-P, which was largely used to facilitate the Transformation Agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, was frontal in the government’s interventions into the health, education and youth employment strategies in the country.
One of the pillars of the Transformation Agenda of that administration was the progressive deregulation of the petroleum industry. In January, 2012, the decision to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS was announced by government.
In order to ensure the proper management of the funds that would accrue to the Federal Government from the partial withdrawal of subsidy, government decided to inaugurate a committee for the purpose. Accordingly, the then president set up SURE-P on the 13th of February 2012 under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Kolade, with a mandate to among other things ‘deliver service with integrity’ and `restore people’s confidence in the government’.
Buhari’s directive, delivered to the SURE-P committee through a letter from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, will however change that direction of the immediate past administration. The president in the letter, ordered a wholesale probe into the activities of the agency including its funding and expenditure.
The president in the letter directed the panel to wind down the operations of SURE-P on or before October 31, 2015 and submit a comprehensive report of its activities to The Presidency.
The president’s order is coming, even as the Senate yesterday had a rowdy session over the rate of unemployment in the country, following sharp disagreement between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP senators on additional prayers to a motion on the “Urgent need to curb the soaring rate of unemployment in Nigeria”.
Trouble started when the Minority Whip Senator Philip Aduda (PDP FCT) told a stunned Senate that it should also urge the APC-led federal government to immediately commence the payment of N5, 000 stipends to unemployed youths in the country as additional resolutions of the upper legislative chamber to the motion.
This drew the err of the APC senators, many of whom at that point quickly opposed it even as the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio tried in vain to second the additional prayer.
After the PDP senators’ efforts, Senator Babajide Omoworare (APC Osun East) raised a point of order, citing Order 53 (6) of the Senate Standing Rules, that no senator shall raised any matter on the floor of the Senate after it must have been resolved.
The Order, which deals with Rules of Debate, reads: “It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which tar Senate had come to a conclusion during through current session except upon a substantive motion fir rescission”.
The senate had earlier condemned the high rate of unemployment in the country, considering the huge bailout intervention funds expended by the government in various sectors over the years to boost domestic production capacity.
It, however, directed its relevant committees to investigate effective release, utilisation and performance of the various intervention funds to the various sectors of the economy by relevant government agencies.
The senate called on the federal government’s sub-national governments to intensify their efforts on employment generation activities in line with their various campaign promises.