A member of the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P), Mr Peter Esele has declared that the committee will today present a breakdown of the sum of N75million allegedly spent by the members on local travels.
The committee which was set up in February 2012 by President Goodluck Jonathan to coordinate the spending of savings from subsidy removal was alleged to have spent the sum in just ten months of its existence.
Mr Esele, who also doubles as the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) stated on our breakfast programme Sunrise daily in Port Harcourt that the executives of SURE-P committee had demanded from the secretariat of the committee to explain how such money was spent “and they (secretariat) have up till today”, he said.
Mr Estele revealed that some of his trips were funded by the TUC because “while the committee was inaugurated in February, funds were not released until about four months ago.”
He also denied a newspaper report that the committee members have spent the sum N2.2billion on rent.
According to the labour leader, “I don’t even know of the accommodation because right now we are squatting.” “We are just talking about getting an office because right now we are squatting, so it is impossible for us to spend that much on rent.”
He admitted that being a member of the committee has availed him the opportunity to learn how government works, particularly in terms of how contracts are awarded.
“I am not a fan of committees. Committees only thrive in a place where things are not going well” as he revealed that government budget very little for major projects and this he claims takes a long time for the projects to be completed.
When asked what the labour unions will do if in 2013, the Federal Government removes the remaining fuel subsidy, Mr Esele, who was amongst the major leaders of the January protest against the removal of fuel subsidy,responded saying “when we get to that bridge, we will cross it.”
He however, opined that such a move might not be made by the government because there are already provisions for the payment of fuel subsidy in the 2013 budget. He also added that for that to happen, the executive will need to discuss with National Assembly because of the appropriation that has already been made.