Mkpoikana Udoma 13 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has paid over N30 billion to its contractors since the new board and management assumed duties on November 4, 2016.
NDDC pays N30bn to contractors in 5 months
The Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this during a meeting with executive members of the NDDC Contractors’ Association at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He stated that he has also given directives that all interim payment certificates below N20 million be processed for immediate payment.
Mr. Ekere disclosed that the new board met over 8,000 projects, among which were numerous abandoned projects spread across the region, as well as and a contingent liability of N1.3 trillion.
The NDDC Chief Executive however stressed the need for the Commission to get its full funding, as provided for in the NDDC Act, to enable it carry out its mandate. He outlined the efforts being made to tackle the funding challenge, noting that the Commission was already meeting with the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta to ascertain the exact outstanding being owed the Commission.
The NDDC boss further said that part of the reforms involved the introduction of technology to enhance the service delivery systems of the Commission. He observed, however, that this may take some time to be fully operational and as such required some measure of understanding from the Commission’s stakeholders.
“The process of documentation has started, because we believe that things should be done right.
“We are reforming the governance systems in NDDC. By the time we are done, we will institute the governance system that we know is proper and run NDDC according to best international standards, so that when we leave, it will be impossible for any board that comes after us to reverse them.
“For the first time also, this board approached the oil companies working in the Niger Delta to involve them in the budgeting process for them to also make input, since they are working in the communities and these host communities also have needs.”
Mr. Ekere stated that Management recently set up a committee on investigative hearing to review allegations of corruption levelled against some of its staff, as part of the commitment to institute transparency and probity within the Commission.
He, however, expressed regrets that “the hearing was disrupted following some security breaches,” adding: “In spite of this, a lot of petitions and memoranda have been received by the committee and they are working on them to get to the end of these allegations.”
He declared that the Commission was ready to work with partners who would add value to regional development, as well as help the Commission to deliver on its mandate. “I believe in constructive engagement, thus we are engaging with various stakeholders to confront the challenges facing the Niger Delta,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Joe Adia, President of the NDDC Contractors’ Association, recalled their contributions in advocating for the release of the outstanding funds owed the NDDC by Federal Government and pledged to work with the NDDC.
He called on the NDDC boss to recognise the contractor’s association as a partner in progress, noting that the Commission had a lot to gain from working closely with the contractors.