Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Intervention in Nigeria: An Insight and Analysis

When, on January 1, 2012, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the removal of subsidy on petrol, it was the most unexpected New Year gift to the citizens. As should be expected, protests and anger greeted the pronouncement the following day. It was spontaneous. This led to the introduction of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), the government’s ‘solution’ to fast-track development in answer to subsidy removal or reduction. Since its inauguration, the programme has been generating controversies. SURE-P was designed to complement all the other development programmes of the three levels of government. SURE-P being a government intervention requires that some objectives must be achieved at the end of the day and the need for continuous review and analysis of the scope and strategies, hence this review. The main objectives of the review have to do with the policy and legal framework, objectives and structure of SURE-P and whether the structure can lead to the achievement of stated goals. The review employs desk and web research including review of plans, monitoring data, internal learning documents, sectoral and annual reports of the SURE-P as well as other countries experiences and interventions after subsidy removal or reduction. The review also tracked policy statements, reactions, comments and clarifications of Nigerian policy makers, key stakeholders and other analysts from the inception of the SURE-P both in the electronic and in the print media and found the following: The main objectives of SURE-P is to mitigate the immediate impact of the petroleum subsidy removal on the population, but particularly the poor and vulnerable segments; accelerate economic transformation through investments in critical infrastructure projects, so as to drive economic growth and achieve the Vision 20:2020; as well as lay a foundation for the successful development of a national safety net programme that is better targeted at the poor and the most vulnerable on a continuous basis.