The newly inaugurated Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has explained that frequent changes in the Board of the commission have been responsible for the slow pace of development in the oil-rich region.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day NDDC Board and Management Retreat with the theme: “Renewed hope: A new era for vitality, peace and development”.
The communique was signed by the Chairman, Governing Board of NDDC, Mr. Chiedu Ebie and the Managing Director of NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku and made available to newsmen in Uyo.
The NDDC urged the Federal Government to sustain the current governing board of the commission to ensure adequate project execution and delivery.
It also called for collaboration among the Ministry of Niger Delta Development, state governments of in the region, the NDDC and development partners to further boost the development of the region.
The communique reads: “A reviewed and updated Niger Delta Regional Developmental Masterplan remains a crucial framework for guiding and implementing development initiatives in the Niger Delta, as there can be no sustainable development without developmental plans.
“The frequent changes in the governing board of the Commission have largely accounted for the challenges in project execution and delivery in the development of the region.
“Thus, the Federal Government should ensure that the current Board completes its tenure and that there is continuity in succeeding Boards to ensure sustainability of the Commission’s projects.
“There is need for proper synergy, collaboration and coordinating framework between the Ministry of Niger Delta Development, State Governments in the regions, the NDDC and development partners.
“That procurement is at the heart of governance and one of the government activities most vulnerable to corruption.
“Therefore, the Board and Management of the NDDC must effectively discharge their responsibility to manage the Procurement process involving all stakeholders, without sacrificing the core objectives as provided under the Procurement Act.
“There is the need for the urgent release of all outstanding statutory contributions of the Federal Government to the NDDC fund, as the non-release of these funds has significantly hampered the ability of the Commission to deliver on its mandate.
“In view of the peculiar construction window of the Niger Delta region, there is the need for some form of financial autonomy for the NDDC outside the Treasury Single Account (TSA) regime.
“This is as part of the process of getting the Commission take advantage of traditional credit sources in completing its projects and deliver real impact and sustainable development to the long suffering people of the region.”
The communique urged the board and management to acquaint themselves with relevant rules, in order to effectively discharge the responsibilities imposed under extant laws.
The communique which mandated the Managing Director of NDDC to take responsibility for all the procurements processes, stressed that such procurements must follow extant rules and laws.