NDDC embarks on N366bn worth of projects in Delta, says Ndoma-Egba
The Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) has since inception embarked on 1,614 projects in Delta valued N366 billion.
The Chairman of the commission, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, made the disclosure when he led a delegation to Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday.
He said in a statement by Mr Ibitoye Abosede the NDDC’s Director of Corporate Affairs in Abuja on Thursday that 803 of the projects had been completed and commissioned while 396 were still ongoing.
Ndoma-Egba told the governor that one of the first decisions taken by the board was the re-activation of all dormant organs of the commission.
He mentioned the Advisory Committee as one of such organs as it was made up of all the governors of the NDDC member states and two other members appointed by Mr. President.
Ndoma-Egba noted that it was necessary to revive the Advisory Committee because the NDDC must work with the government of the member states to ensure that they take ownership of its projects and programmes, as well as check the duplication of projects.
The chairman said that the commission was visiting governors because, “we are now operating with a new spirit of partnership.
“We must move the region forward, and we can only do this by cooperating with all stakeholders.”
He said that NDDC must move away from the usual annual budgets for it to achieve maximum efficiency, adding that a Master Plan was needed for the region.
He expressed regret the failure to implement holistically the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan which was launched in 2007.
“So, we have to agree whether to terminate that Master Plan, update it or upgrade it. But a Master Plan is needed so that our annual budgets will be annual incremental steps towards achieving the vision of the plan,” he said.
Ndoma-Egba held the view that a meaningful progress can be made with a comprehensive plan.
“No state can progress without a plan,” he said, adding that “we need a plan to benchmark where we are going in the short term, medium term and long term”.
He stated that a comprehensive plan was necessary for any meaningful progress to be made as stressing that “no state can progress without a plan.
“We need a plan to benchmark where we are going in a short term, medium term and long term. We must therefore revisit the Master Plan.”
The chairman maintained that NDDC must be futuristic in planning for the development of the Niger Delta, saying that “we must begin to see how we can fund development in the region from sources other than oil.”
He said that the NDD’s board in its last meeting approved the development of Information Communication Technology, ICT, infrastructure in the region.
“We want to rig the region with a fibre optic network to deepen internet access,” the chairman said.
Receiving the delegation,Gov. Okowa applauded NDDC for emphasising on the collaboration among various stakeholders in the region.
“We need to have more of such big-ticket projects that will be impactful on the lives people in the region,” he said.
He advised that the budgetary process of the intervening agency needed to be reviewed, stating that this was necessary to ensure that the projects are adequately provided for in its annual budget.
The governor said that it was in the best interest of the NDDC to reform some of its processes, noting that the new spirit of partnership was a welcomed development.
He said: “We are glad that you have invited the President to re-activate the Advisory Committee that will enable the governors to make inputs to the activities of the Commission.”
The governor added that the commission needed to refine its budgeting process, observing that “the kind of adhoc budgets that the commission runs now causes many problems.”
Okowa emphasised the need for the NDDC to engage the National Assembly during the budgeting.
He also advised the NDDC to reform its wealth creation programmes, saying that mentoring should be embedded in the programmes for the purpose of sustainability.
According to him mentoring, will ensure that there are less failures and a valuable support for the beneficiaries.”
Meanwhile, NDDC and the Delta State Government have agreed to pull resources together for the construction of the Omadino-Okerenkoko-Escravos Road.
Abosede said in a statement in Abuja that the project was part of the on-going collaboration with governments of the nine oil producing states of the Niger Delta region.
According to him, the road will provide access to the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Escravos Gas Terminal, and other communities in one of the major oil and gas hubs of the Niger Delta when completed.
“The ground work for the partnership was laid when members of the NDDC Board and its Management,
paid a courtesy visit to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa”, Abosede said.
He said the commission’s Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, (SAN) led the delegation comprising the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr Mene Derek, Executive Director Projects, Mr Samuel Adjogbe, and other directors of the Commission.