NDDC Commissioner assures Isoko nation of infrastructure development
The commissioner representing Delta State on the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, has assured the Isoko nation of infrastructural development.
He gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Isoko Correspondence Chapel at Oleh, Isoko South Local Council of Delta State.
He noted that in spite of the dwindling Nigerian economy, the development of critical infrastructure such as roads, schools and human capital development would be addressed as oil continue to improve from $46 to $60 per barrel.
The commissioner assured of a better future and prayed that the economic crisis would soon be over for the overall development of the state and the country.
Ifowodo urged the youths to embrace peace and allow investors to come in and develop the Niger Delta area, as peace creates the enabling environment for the sustainability of any investment.
He noted that due to the embargo on employment in the NDDC, engineers needed for monitoring projects were not enough, a situation, he explained that has effected the commission in discharging its overall duties.
He also emphasised that NDDC was for established for project development and monitoring and as such it requires the services of qualified engineers to deliver according to specifications.
Ifowodo stated that money earmarked for the payment of staff salaries outweighs what is require for work, maintaining that there were nine states in the NDDC with about 9,000 projects awarded to contractors on an expected wage bill of N1.3 trillion.
He said the board was owing many contractors, even as the annual budget of the commission amounted to N2.5 trillion.
The commissioner stated that to reduce the commission’s debt burden, some new projects in the 2017 budget were removed, adding that only projects that have only 0 – 5 per cent mobilisation were currently being monitored by the board.
He added that the NDDC has earmarked 70 per cent of its budget for the completion of ongoing projects, stating that communities could not be developed without the completion of such projects.
He noted that projects near completion in Delta State are 245, noting that completing the projects before starting other new ones takes time.
Speaking, NUJ Chairman, Isoko Correspondence Chapel, Emmanuel Ekebe, briefed the commissioner on how the chapel was formed and inaugurated, noting that in spite of challenges facing it, there is a functional secretariat since two years ago with an office secretary placed on a monthly salary.
Ekebe added that every year the chapel mentors students from Ozoro Polytechnic on industrial training.
He said, the chapel was declared as the best among the 16 chapels in the state by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa during the 2017 press week held in Asaba.
He stated that the chapel now has a monthly newspaper publication known as the Isoko Nation about three months ago, noting that it has seasoned journalists engaged on normal daily reportage to other media organisations.
Ekebe said some of the challenges facing the union include funding and lack of office equipment to keep the secretariat functional.
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