(SURE-P) is a mere political gimmick- Chief Bayo Ogunmupe
Bayode Ogunmupe is a veteran journalist, economist and literary critic. He was Educated at the University of Ibadan; University of Geneva and the London School of Economics, UK; he holds degrees in History, Economics and Business. Ogunmupe has been Political Editor, Daily Sketch; Production Editor, Nigerian Tribune; Senior Sub Editor, Daily Times; Associate Editor, Newswatch and Economic columnist and literary critic for The Guardian. He was a recipient of the Nigerian Media Merit Awards in 1993 and the Ladi Lawal Journalist of the Year Award in 2010. He is the author of the international bestseller, Nigerian Politics in the age of Yar’Adua. Ogunmupe dismissed SURE-P as mere political campaign tool. Excerpts:
· What is your opinion about SURE-P? There are reports that people are benefiting from it.
It is a mere political design, a gimmick. It is not true that people are benefiting from it. I have a personal experience with SURE-P. I applied for business loan and I was not given. They didn’t give it to me for any justification. My business was properly registered.
It was like a small business. They were supposed to fund it. The conditions were you should have a registered company, a business plan; both of which I had and I was not given the funding. I also tried applied for one of my sister in law who was unemployed at the time. She is a university graduate and it was the same experience.
I thought that may be, it was because of the women, men women gender disparity but the woman was not given also. She has a good education. She studied Accountancy so she could do something. Why did Christopher Kolade who was former chairman of this committee resigned. It was because nothing tangible was happening there that could reach ordinary Nigerians.
· It was just propaganda?
It is just a propaganda stunt. They created it to score political points. It is purely a Political propaganda and even a way to embezzle money that is why Dr. Kolade resigned as chairman so there is nothing in it. If it is good project why did Kolade resigned.
· As an economist, do you think it would work if it was properly implemented?
It is a good way to stop unemployment and poverty. It is a good way, if it is properly run. it is the kind plan that was implement in the United States in 1948 after the second world war which bought up the European nations back to normalcy.
If It will be done but it is going to be done by an agency independent of government such as INEC, devoid of bureaucracy that goes on in civil service oriented organization or a bank.
Yes actually you can, through the SURE-P, give loans to Nigerians through the banks. They can give loans, without interest, collateral free. You can give any Nigerian that is qualified to do business. This will encourage entrepreneurship truly help to eradicate poverty.
It could work but the people are not sincere. They could have created a plan that can encourage entrepreneurship, but the Nigeria factor is always there. People are not ready to work sincerely for the development of the nation. They are ready to work it. The belief is that, what is in it for me, what can I steal?
What about the issue that led to the creation of SURE- P?
What led to it was this man, the former Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi exposed subsidy as farce. He exposed subsidy as a farce and that People were using subsidy to steal money from the Federal Government. They discovered he was right so the government wanted to compensate the people for removing the subsidy so they establish SURE-P to compensate the people.
Was the removal of subsidy actually justified?
Yes, it was, Yes for me, economically, subsidy is always corruption. It is a way to steal money. The World Bank is against subsidy of any form because it is always a way for government to steal money so the best thing Jonathan has ever done was to privatize electricity.
If President Goodluck Jonathan wants to do something for Nigerians, It will be to create bank products backed up by SURE-P which allows people, Nigerians to obtain loans without collateral, loans without interests and without discrimination.
There should only be three factors to qualify a person for the loan; anyone who is 21 years of age, anyone who is a Nigerian citizen, and is properly registered, once those factors are available, the person should be able to access a loan.
This is what President Goodluck Jonathan needs to do. Get a banking product available to all Nigerians who are passionate about business and entrepreneurship. This would be supervised by the central bank of Nigeria.
Let the Federal Republic of Nigeria ensure that anybody who is a Nigerian citizen has access to it. All these SURE- P is a complete waste of money. Some people just want to embezzle money.
it appears as a good plan but the Nigeria factor is always there. Give loans to Nigerians who wants to do business. You can give between 1million to ten million particularly import substitution enterprise.
Can u buttress that point?Import substitution enterprises involve all things Nigerian imports. You can now tell those companies Nigeria import from to service two or three Nigerian companies and to help them to be able to produce those things in Nigeria. In the next 10 years you can now make it a law, if a company is not doing that you blacklist it. Make credit facility available for all Nigerians who want to participate in such a venture within three years poverty will be gone in this country. This is all they need to do. President Jonathan is thinking about second term no sincerity. He is just doing this project for the sake of second term ambition. He wants to bribe the people deceived them so that they can vote for him