Senate queries FCT Minister over SURE-P funds

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Bala Mohammed

The Senate’s Ad-hoc Committee on Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has asked FCT Minister Bala Mohammed to explain how SURE-P funds allocated to the territory from 2012 to date were spent.

The committee, which issued the query on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with the minister, urged him to furnish it with a detailed statement of account of the SURE-P funds.

The committee also asked minister to explain the rationale behind his alleged payment of N1 billion SURE-P funds into the Abuja Investment Fund, saying that there was no justification for such payments.

The minister was asked to provide details of how and why the FCT Administration (FCTA) spent N140 million to rehabilitate the buses which it bought in 2012.

Members of the committee insisted that the buses ought not to have been due for repairs one year after their purchase.

Besides, the committee queried the minister over the N500 million that was allegedly spent on the rehabilitation of the NYSC Orientation Camp in Kubwa.

“There is no evidence that the NYSC is lacking funds from the Federal Government,’’ the committee said.

In another meeting, the Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga, told the Senate Committee on Trade that the ministry was ready to offer a level-playing ground to all automobile dealers in the country.

He said that some automobile dealers had indicated interest to be involved in the implementation of the newly introduced National Automobile Policy, which the ministry was not opposed to.

Some of the dealers like Toyota, CFAO, RT. Briscoe, KIA, Coscharis, among others, had petitioned the committee, alleging discriminatory treatment and non-involvement in the policy’s implementation by the ministry.

The policy specifies that importers of vehicles should pay 70 per cent charges on the vehicles they import.

The dealers said that although they were not against the policy, they needed more time to adjust to the new policy.

Cosmos Maduka, the spokesman for the automobile dealers, told journalists that the ministry had started implementing the policy even before the dealers were informed about it.

“What we are saying is that more time should be given to us to enable us talk to our principals and make them understand the new policy of government.

“We also want a transparent policy that gives a level playing field to all players because the Ministry of Trade introduced the policy to promote made-in-Nigeria cars and discourage Nigerians from buying imported cars,’’ Maduka said.

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