Delta State Governor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has disclosed that the state government has released the sum of over N1.6 billion to the 25 local government Councils being their share of the Subsidy, Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) funds
Governor Uduaghan who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay at the SURE-P Interactive Session/Town Hall Meeting with Stakeholders and Traditional Rulers in Asaba at the weekend stated that some local government Councils were already implementing some of the approved programmes and projects after due consultation with the state government.
The Governor said that the SURE-P initiative was an addition to the state projects and programmes which were all put in place to ensure that the down trodden, women and youths in the rural communities were not left out of the benefits and dividends of democracy.
“Here in Delta State, we have put up a lot of projects and programmes to make sure that the down trodden, women and youths in the rural and riverine communities are not left out of the benefits and dividends of democracy. So, SURE-P is an addition to our schemes and everything will be done to ensure the success of this initiative”.
Dr. Uduaghan informed the audience that the government was poised to tackle headlong the challenges posed by climate change explaining that the state was a member of the R20 Team, a body dedicated to tackling the issue of climate change.
He called on the Royal Fathers to assist the state government in monitoring projects that would be set up by the SURE-P Initiative stressing that Dr Goodluck Jonathan has set up the Initiative to ensure that individuals at the grassroots were not neglected.
“I employ our Royal Fathers who are the custodians of the people to help in monitoring projects that is set up by the SURE-P Initiative as Mr. President with all good intentions has put up the SURE-P Initiative so that people at the rural level will not be neglected”.
Governor Uduaghan assured the delegates that the state government would continue to collaborate and cooperate with the Federal government and remained loyal to the People’s Democratic Party at the state and National levels.
In a brief speech, the Minister of Labor and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu stated that the SURE-P Initiative was designed to transfer part of the wealth saved from the oil subsidy to provide employment opportunities to women, youths and people with disabilities in the various communities.
He opined that the royal fathers were the true advocates for the people at the grassroots stating that their presence would make the SURE-P Initiative more meaningful to the people.
Speaking on behalf of the royal fathers, the Ovie of Uwvie Kingdom, Abe I, said that the SURE-P Initiative should be properly formed in the state stating that the royal fathers should be carried along and be well informed on the priorities of the SURE-P Initiative.
He commended DR. Goodluck Jonathan on the SURE-P Initiative and assured the delegates of the commitment of the royal fathers in ensuring the success of the initiative in the state.
Beneficiaries present at the occasion commended President Goodluck Jonathan for instituting the SURE-P Initiative and assured the delegates of their dedication to the initiative.
Earlier during a courtesy call on Governor Uduaghan by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu and other Federal Government officals at the New Government House, in Asaba, the governor expressed his administration’s support in ensuring the success of the Federal Government’s Subsidy, Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) in the state.
Uduaghan said that the state government would partner with the Federal Government SURE-P a success story.
“The SURE-P program is a program that Delta State is very interested in. We want to give it all the support to make the program a success as it is a program that will give confidence to the people. Even if the subsidy has to be completely removed, the people will be assured that the money saved from the subsidy removal will be used for their benefit”, the Governor stated.
Governor Uduaghan explained that the state was judiciously utilizing its share of the SURE-P funds and has achieved a lot with the funds for the benefits of Deltans.
He said the funds have been used in the rehabilitation of roads in the state through the Direct Labour Agency, provision of small and medium scale loans in the state Micro-Credit Scheme and the purchase and subsidization of buses in the state transport scheme, explaining that the state still has some savings from the funds.
Governor Uduahan also said that the state government was closely monitoring the usage of the funds at the local government areas to ensure its judicious use.
His words, “At the local government level, the state government made sure the chairmen used the money appropriately. We asked for details of the projects they want to carry out with the funds. We want to ensure that they do not use the money to pay workers salary and allowances.”
Explaining further, he noted that there had been challenges with the initial take-off of the programme throughout the federation as expected of any new programme and appealed to all stakeholders to work together as a team to ensure that these challenges were tackled.
According to him “Challenges are expected at the beginning of any new programme, the SURE-P programme is not an exception. This will not make us condemn it, what has to be done is to sit down and see how best we can help address the issue so that the program will be successful.”
The Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu who was accompanied by his Information counterpart, Mr. Labaran Maku on a sensitization and appraisal tour of SURE-P projects in his speech said the purpose of the visit to Delta was to sensitize Nigerians on the SURE-P programme and what have been achieved so far.
He explained that President Jonathan had promised Nigerians that his administration will alleviate the hardships caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy and deliver the benefits of democracy to them through the SURE-P programme.
The Minister said the aim of the programme was to provide employment opportunities to women, youths and people with disabilities in the various communities in the nation.
Wogu said that the South-South states have received over 337.9 million naira from the SURE-P funds to carry out projects and programmes in the states. He explained that each state has employed 3,000 persons in various SURE-P programmes and another 2,000 people per state will be added to the scheme this year.
He informed the governor that a total of 3426 Deltans made up of 1610 males, 1816 females and 256 disabled persons were presently deployed to 256 SURE-P project sites in the state.
The Minister stated about 83 million naira have been utilized so far from the oil subsidy saving as monthly stipends, basic hand tools and management requirement for these beneficiaries in state.