SURE-P to pay 6 months stipends of 2,000 youths – Chairman

SURE-P to pay 6 months stipends of 2,000 youths – Chairman

Sunday, June 22, 2014 7:31 pm

Abuja – The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) on Sunday said it would begin the payment of six months stipends’ arrears owed 2,000 youths employed by the programme from this week.

Its Chairman, Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai (rtd), who announced this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, however, did not disclose the specific amount to be paid to them.

He said that the SURE-P was introduced by the Federal Government to reduce youth unemployment and to curb the rural/urban drift by engaging youths in community services.

General Martin Luther Agwai

Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai (rtd)

The chairman said that the initial plan by the government was to engage 5,000 youths but ended up engaging 2,000 because of the challenge encountered in the 2013 budget.

Agwai said the arrears got accumulated not because of misappropriation but because of challenges emanating from appropriation of budget by the National Assembly.

“There was a misunderstanding of prioritising issue at the National Assembly because the money voted to take care of this category was not approved.

“Instead of a budget of over N20 billion, we ended up with a budget merging with FERMA public works policy that works with Federal Government’s zero pothole policy.

“In doing that, the National Assembly merged the two appropriations and gave them only N9 billion and because of that, even the N9 billion could not pay the 2,000 that were already employed.

“Government then felt that instead of progressing to 5,000 intended, it decided to stop and manage the 2,000 until the situation is resolved.

“I want to make it clear to every Nigerian that these young people have not been paid for onward of five months to six months because of lack of fund.

“I want to state it to everybody that nobody has tampered with anybody’s money; the only challenge was the appropriation act.”

Agwai added that there was no way the programme could vire money “because you could asked me why did you return the N88 billion when you could not pay this’’.

He said efforts were made but because of the magnitude of the problem, they were not able to vire the money until the end of the budget year.

Agwai said he had approved the payment of the arrears from the new budget, which would commence this week.

“As I was leaving the office coming here, one of the things I have done was to approve payment of their arrears from January to June this year.

“So, I hope within this week or early next week, they will be able to get their arrears and then we take it up from there.”


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