NDDC tasks oil firms on delay of remittances in Niger Delta
He sought collaboration with the government of the United States of America (USA) to produce a revised Regional Development Master Plan for the region.
Akwa spoke when a delegation of the United States Consulate in Lagos, led by the Political and Economic Chief, Brandom Hudspeth, visited him at the Commission’s new headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“We have a good relationship with the oil companies, but sometimes they delay in paying their statutory remittances. The law says that they should pay three per cent of their annual budget to the NDDC for the development of the Niger Delta region.
“But most of these funds are often delayed. They should fulfil their obligations to the commission, as this will help in stabilising the region because the security of the region means the security of oil production,” he stated.
He noted that the regional Master Plan, which had a lifespan of 15 years, expired last year and, therefore, appealed to the U.S. for the partnership to produce another master plan that would be tailored to address the needs of Niger Delta people and American citizens in the region.
He said that the Niger Delta, as an oil-rich region, should be looking beyond its oil wealth, stating that the region had great potentials in agriculture, adding: “Our people are predominantly fishermen and farmers and agriculture is the strength of the region. We can feed the world in collaboration with America.”
Speaking further, Akwa requested for the support of its Postgraduate Foreign Scholarship Programme, which he said, had been part of NDDC’s manpower development, noting: “We have been sending out our graduates to foreign universities for post-graduate training.
Unfortunately, we have not received anything in return to encourage us.”
Responding, Hudspeth said Nigeria and the U.S. were close allies working together to foster the bilateral relationship between both countries to improve lives, especially in the Niger Delta region.
He said the U.S. government would continue to work with the NDDC to strengthen collaboration on strategies to improve peace and security to facilitate sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
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