HomeNewsNDDC Seeks FG's Intervention over N2 Trillion Debt

NDDC Seeks FG’s Intervention over N2 Trillion Debt

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to the federal government to intervene in the payment of its outstanding allocations, which it claims amount to over N2 trillion. The agency said the debt was the accumulation of 15 per cent of the monthly allocation of the nine oil-producing states in the region, which it was entitled to receive since 2000.

The NDDC’s Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, made the plea when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDDC, chaired by Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake. He said the federal government only budgeted what it wanted to give to the NDDC for each year, without following the provisions of the NDDC Act. He added that the agency had not received its budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023, which were passed by the National Assembly in April this year.

Ogbuku said the delay in the release of the budget was affecting the implementation of the agency’s projects and programmes in the Niger Delta region. He urged the lawmakers to facilitate the process of handing over the budget to the NDDC as soon as possible, as the budget year was already coming to an end.

The NDDC boss also lamented the poor funding of the agency by the oil and gas companies operating in the region, which he said were supposed to contribute 3 per cent of their annual budget to the NDDC. He said the agency was working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover the unpaid arrears from the oil companies.

The NDDC is the federal government’s interventionist agency, established in 2000 to address the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta region, which has been plagued by environmental degradation, poverty, insecurity, and underdevelopment. The agency has been embroiled in several controversies and allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and political interference over the years.

The NDDC’s funding crisis has also affected its ability to deliver on its mandate and meet the expectations of the people of the region. According to a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the NDDC received N1.5 trillion from the federal government between 2007 and 2019, but only spent N594.7 billion on projects, leaving a balance of N904.3 billion unaccounted for.

The report also revealed that the NDDC had 13,777 ongoing projects across the nine states of the region but only completed 3,777 of them, leaving 10,000 projects abandoned or uncompleted. The report attributed the poor performance of the NDDC to inadequate funding, a lack of transparency and accountability, political interference, weak governance, and institutional capacity, among other factors.

The report recommended that the federal government review the funding framework of the NDDC to ensure that it is consistent with the provisions of the NDDC Act and the needs of the region. It also called for the strengthening of the governance and oversight mechanisms of the NDDC, as well as the improvement of its project management and monitoring systems.

The report urged the NDDC to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as state governments, oil and gas companies, civil society organizations, and communities, to ensure the effective and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC has expressed its commitment to work with all the relevant stakeholders to address the challenges facing the region and deliver on its mandate. The agency said it was adopting a new approach of stakeholder engagement, participatory budgeting, regional planning, and public-private partnerships to achieve its goals.

The NDDC also said it was embarking on more legacy and regional projects, such as the solar-powered streetlights project, which it said would enhance security and reduce criminality in the region. The agency said it was determined to change the narrative of the Niger Delta and make it a model of development and prosperity.

Source: Punch

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