Mkpoikana Udoma 12 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it is partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, on a $60 million (N21 billion) job creation programme to help reduce unemployment in the Niger Delta region.
The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who disclosed this when IFAD officials paid a courtesy visit to the management of NDDC at its headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the Commission would sustain and strengthen its partnership with the UN agency, as part of efforts to create wealth and transform the region.
Ekere, represented by NDDC Executive Director on Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, stated that the Commission carried out a baseline study to gather data which would help it produce a good design for the IFAD programme.
The NDDC Executive Director said that the Commission had always recognized agriculture as the way forward for Nigeria, adding that it would continue to support IFAD to integrate rural dwellers into agricultural entrepreneurship.
According to him, “The NDDC is ready to partner with IFAD in the new programme because we need to diversify the mono-economy of the country.
“It is a thing of joy that IFAD is partnering with us to achieve this goal. We hope that what we have gathered as the base line survey will help us to produce a design that will give us something reliable when we get to the implementation stage.
“NDDC is committed to getting many people, particularly our youths back to work, because we need to get our people to be meaningfully engaged; and this will help strengthen the process of our engagement with them, which we have begun in earnest.
“Oil and gas has given us a take-off platform. Now we must diversify.”
For his part, the representative of IFAD and Country Director in Nigeria, Dr. Rich Pitrine, said that the new programme, which is expected to run for seven years would revolve around enterprise development for youths and women.
“We understand the lack of opportunities which is an unfortunate disease for your region. We understand very well that there are phenomenal things which can be done if proactive investments are done.”