Prospect of contributing $30m counterpart fund to empowerment scheme excites NDDC
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has stated its readiness to contribute its counterpart fund of $30 million to the empowerment scheme involving the Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
This followed the passage of the Commission’s 2023 budget by the Senate.
The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise is a Niger Delta (Life-Nd) programme, jointly implemented by IFAD and Federal Government. It is yet to commence in three states, four years after it was launched.
Nine states were to benefit from the $130 million agricultural project, but three states, which counterpart funding supposed to come from NDDC, were lagging behind due to the inability of the Commission to meet its payment agreement. The three states are Rivers, Imo and Akwa-Ibom.
Covering all the nine states of the Niger Delta, IFAD’s contribution of $60 million of total project cost of $978 million has engaged over 14,000 youths and women in six states, while NDDC has not been able to remit its $30 million contribution, which has kept 12,000 prospective beneficiaries from Akwa Ibom, Imo and Rivers states in waiting as federal and state governments contribute $3.057 and $554.877, respectively.
Speaking during the mid-year review of the project in Port Harcourt, NDDC’s Director of Agric and Fisheries, Nwalue Kelechi, said that with the passage of the Commission’s budget by the Senate, there are green lights that the Commission would pay its counterpart fund of $30m to enable over 12,000 participants to join in the programme.
Meanwhile, the special youth and women empowerment scheme in the Niger Delta is expected to hit 55.5 per cent by mid 2023.
IFAD Country Director in Nigeria, Dede Ekoue, revealed this at the ongoing mid year review.
Ekoue said the target figure is 25,500, but that 14,155 beneficiaries have been reached in six states of Abia, Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Ondo.
According to her, hopes are high that over 12,000 others would join from Imo, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom as soon as the $30m from the NDDC drops.
She said the programme would be boosted the moment the fund is released to meet 100 per cent target of 25,500 participants.
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