The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said it has put modalities in place to reduce wastage of scarce resources allocated for the development of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking on Monday at the forum of the NDDC 2024 budget of Reconstruction Conference with the theme “Partners for Sustainable Development Forum-NDDC 2024” held at the Ibom Icon Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Managing Director of NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, said to actualise that mandate, the commission brought all the service providers and project implementers to same table to fashion a common pathway for the development of the region.
Ogbuku said the commission would partner with relevant stakeholders such as the state governments and the oil companies in the Niger Delta to ensure maximum development of the region, noting that some state governments had accused the NDDC of working in isolation.
He said, “Arising from the conference, we will galvanise our energies for a common purpose, eliminate duplications and institutional suspicions in the development process and reduce wastage of scarce resources allocated for regional developmental initiatives by all stakeholders.
“We came in and we thought that it was very necessary to operate an all inclusive administration without creating boundaries between the NDDC, state governments and other stakeholders, especially in the area of budgeting.
“The last forum that took place was in 2016 and now we are here. We want to partner with every other stakeholder. We believe working in partnership with stakeholders will give us a better result and avoid duplication of projects. We are not doing the budget for ourselves but for the people and I can see the people well represented here, such as the traditional rulers, youths, state government officials, civil society leaders and even the IOCs and we are ready to take their inputs.
“We are currently in discussion with the Rivers State Government, the NLNG to see how we can bring specific and legacy projects to the state. By next Tuesday, we will also have meetings with Chevron on how we can partner with them and bring about the best of development and sustainable projects in the Niger Delta.
In his keynote address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Shuaib Belgore, represented by Mr Alfred Abba, Director of Planning and Statistics, urged the NDDC to evolve budgets that will meet the development needs of the states and communities in the region.
He blamed the poor budget implementation strategy that had persisted in the NDDC over the years on late submission of budgets.
He said, “Undoubtedly, NDDC budgets over the years have been faced with challenges, which included belated submissions and delayed approvals, amongst others.
“These challenges have led to low/poor implementation of which this conference intends to address. I will encourage the Commission to continue to evolve and adopt a budgetary process that is in tandem with the stipulated provisions of the relevant Establishment Act.”