Nigeria and the petrol subsidy wahala--the SURE-P 2

Why am I so focused on this matter? Because I am a Nigerian who cares about my country reaching its full potential. You also probably also wonder, what is the Sure-P? Here it is below as sent to me by the Nigerian Minister for Finance for dissemination. I have disseminated, and am still doing so. My initial dissemination you see below. My response to the SURE-P is in several parts and is ongoing.

Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 06:18:47 -0500
Subject: Fwd: Pls Read and Pass on

My people, How are you all? Our Honorable Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala asked me to be a LinkedIn contact. She also graciously sent me the message on the SURE plans that the government has for the people of Nigeria and asked me to share it widely. I am doing so. The plans are below my response to her, which was highly limited by the character restriction in linkedin. Please read and give me feedback. It's better to read the Honorable Minister's communication before mine, so first scroll down.

Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome has sent you a message.
Date: 1/14/2012
Subject: RE: Pls Read and Pass on

Dear Honorable Minister,

Greetings. Happy New Year. Thank you for inviting me to be a linkedin contact. I also thank you very much for sharing this with me. I will share with people on my mailing lists. I have to confess that I'm very concerned about the rationale behind the subsidy removal and with the assumption that short term pain would generate long term gain for majority of Nigerians who are poor and marginalized. I took the pains of watching the debate sponsored by NPAN and wonder whether there is understanding of the plight of poor Nigerians by most on that panel. Also, what I heard deviated very little from neoliberal economic reasoning. Such reasoning still appears to have validity in Nigeria, but is delegitimized in Europe and the US, which are in the throes of economic crisis. It is illegitimate where there is so much concentration of wealth in few hands. It does not consider the poor as worthy of immediate protection, but promises that in 3 years we'll see that the government has honorable intent. This is while ministers, President and high level goverment officials are only willing to take 15% pay cuts. Even a 50% pay cut, and 50% cut in benefits may not be enough. If however, a pay and benefit cut amounting to 50% is taken by the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, it may be more convincing that there is a dIesire to share some pain. When each member of government seeks medical treatment in our broken hospitals, and their children are educated in Nigerian public educational institutions, and they have to deal with the existential issues that make life so miserable for majority of Nigerians, there will be more willingness to embrace pain for the majority.
In addition, in practical terms, instead of vaguely talking about short term pain, how does the government want people whose monthly take home pay survive the increase in prices that will attend this subsidy removal? Before the beautiful programmes described below come into being, what are poor Nigerians to do? This is a matter of life and death for those who live on less than $1 and $2 a day. Does the government realize that this is not just a confrontation between itself and rent-seeking venal elites/a cabal? If indeed the problem is a cabal, where did this cabal come from? Who belongs within it? Why have the members of the cabal not been publicly identified, probed, prosecuted and punished? I heard you say at the debate that the government will do this. Even if one were inclined to ignore past government inability and unwillingness to clean house, and now believe that there is now such belief, what concrete results can be produced to convince anyone that the government is doing anything concrete? Unfortunately, the removal of the head of EFCC and appointment of another in her place is insufficient. What has the new EFCC head done to inspire the confidence that Nigerians are being asked to extend?
In similar light, most skeptics would ask, (and justifiably), what is the guarantee that any of these laudable programs will be implemented and that the outcomes would be as predicted by the government? I have more to say, and would communicate it later.
Once again, I thank you.
Best wishes, Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome

The responses of Nigerians to this initiative will be posted in subsequent blogs.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has sent you a message.
Date: 1/14/2012
Subject: Pls Read and Pass on
Dear friends,

In demonstration of our respect for you and our pledge to carry Nigerians along on all developments pertinent to our collective wellbeing as a nation, we have decided to share the document below with you for your kind review and onward forward to the press an other Nigerians in all your spheres of influence.

Please accept the assurance of our regards.




Against the backdrop of the recent debate on the removal of fuel subsidies , and the calculated misinformation being peddled by opponents of this policy, it is pertinent to highlight, in more tangible terms, some of the significant allocations that have been made to essential sectors of the economy, both in the 2012 budget as well as the recently-launched Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). This programme is a 3—4 year programme designed to mitigate the immediate impact of the removal of fuel subsidy and accelerate economic growth through investments in critically-needed infrastructure.

It is noteworthy that, while the 2012 budget allocated the best possible amounts to these critical projects, additional resources are allocated to the same projects in the SURE programme to ensure that they are completed at faster rates than envisioned in the 2012 budget. Some of the projects and allocations are as follow:

• N11bn is allocated to the Abuja-Lokoja road in the 2012 Budget, with an additional N14bn from the SURE-P.
• N6bn is allocated to Benin-Ore-Shagamu, with an additional N16.5bn to be financed through SURE-P.
• N3bn is allocated to Port-Harcourt–Onitsha road, with an additional N5bn from the SURE-P.
• Similarly, N18.5bn is allocated to Kano-Maiduguri road, with an additional N1.5bn from SURE-P.
• Provision is made in the 2012 budget for construction of the Second Niger Bridge (N2bn) and Oweto Bridge (N3.5bn). An additional N5.5bn and N4bn would be spent on both bridges respectively from the SURE-P.
• Provision of N23.5bn is made for maintenance of roads and bridges across the country through Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

• The total amount allocated to the power sector (including Bulk Trader, Nelmco, and Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) and PHCN privatization) is N248bn.
• A sum of N392 million allocated to Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company and N650 million for Bulk Trader.
• In the 2012 Budget Proposal, a sum of N3.7bn is allocated to the Kaduna Dual Fired Power Plant.
• Similarly, N2bn is allocated for the completion of the small and medium hydro-electric power plants Oyan Dam Hydro Power (Ogun state).
• A sum of N2.2bn is allocated for feasibility studies regarding the establishment of coal fired power plants.
• Additionally, N155bn will be spent on Power projects (Mambilla power plant, Coal Power Plant and Small Hydro power plants) through the SURE-P over the period 2012-2015.

• The total allocation to the sector is N78.98bn
• N4bn is allocated to research and mechanisation
• Provision of N1.22bn is made for the construction of access roads to each of the 6 Staple Crop Processing Zones.
• Value Chain: N720 million is allocated to the development of value chains in cocoa, rice, maize, livestock, cotton and others sectors.
• N1bn is allocated to the Price stabilisation scheme.
• N610 million to facilitate for the access to credit, fertilizers and seeds.
• An additional sum of US$500m is expected from Development Finance Institute to support the sector.

• Rail lines: The 2012 budget allocates N3.95bn, N3.15bn and N3.35bn to the construction and completion of Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Ajaokuta-Warri rail lines respectively. In addition, the SURE-P allocates N11.6bn to the Abuja-Kaduna line and N9.3bn to the Lagos-Ibadan line.
• Provision of N800mn is made for the procurement of wagons, coaches and locomotives.
• Dredging project: N1.2bn is allocated to the dredging of Lower River Niger (Warri-Baro).

• The total allocation to the sector is N400bn
• N11.6bn is allocated for existing universities.
• N7.7bn is allocated for the restructuring to Unity Schools.
• National Teachers Institute: The 2012 budget allocates N3.5bn to the retraining of teachers for basic education and training in innovative teaching.
• Moreover, an additional N24.6bn will be spent on vocational training centres from the SURE-P.

• N4.6bn is allocated to the Polio eradication programme
• N3.5bn is allocated to the procurement of HIV/AIDS Drugs
• The sum of N174 million is allocated to Integrated maternal, newborn and child health strategy, including capacity building, and promoting school health initiatives.
• N8.42bn is allocated to Federal University Teaching Hospitals.
• N6bn and N3.6bn are allocated to the procurement of vaccines and midwifery service scheme respectively.
• An additional N73.8bn will be spent on Maternal and Child heath from SURE-P.

• Various Airports: N22.2bn is allocated for the modernization of airport terminals and upgrading of facilities in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

• N3.1bn is allocated to the construction of a 20,000m3/hr lower Usuma dam Water Treatment Plants.
• N2.5bn is allocated to the construction of Cultural and Millennium Tower.
• N1.25bn is allocated to the Development of Idu Industrial Area (1b Engineering Infrastructure).
• Various road projects including the completion of roads B6, B12 and circle road (N4bn), rehabilitation and expansion of airport Expressway (N7.53bn).

• East-West Road (Section I—V): The 2012 budget allocated N22.2bn to this road. In order to accelerate its completion, an additional N21.7bn is allocated in 2012 from the SURE programme.

• N1.2bn is allocated to the construction of Central Ogbia Regional Water Project.
• A total of N4bn are allocated to the construction of dams.
• Other provision for water facilities (i.e. regional water supply scheme) of N8bn.
• Rehabilitation of river Basin authorities (12 nos) of N13.91bn.
• Moreover, over the period 2012-2015 an additional N205.5bn will be invested in rural water scheme, water supply scheme, irrigation scheme and other water related projects from SURE-P.

These projects will not only significantly improve the country’s infrastructure, but will also create millions of jobs for Nigerians. This struggle is not between the government and Nigerians, because government is squarely on the side of the people. The fight is between the government and Nigerians on one side, and persons who are bent on continuing their age-long “milking” of the system for their personal benefits on the other side.

Please let us support government’s efforts at defeating these persons, and creating a better country for all Nigerians

I will post the responses by Nigerians to the Honorable Minister for Finance, some of which I have shared with her when she graciously responded to my emails. I look forward to more response from her because she has expressed publicly and volubly, the fact that the Nigerian government cares about the people, and she is interested in concrete suggestions that address the problems of the country.


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