NDDC vows to cancel N200b projects
•‘We’ve completed N38.8b projects in Bayelsa’
THE Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will expunge N200b worth of projects from its book to reduce its project-carrying capacity to a manageable size.
Chairman of NDDC Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, stated this in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa at the weekend.
He spoke when he led a team of the commission’s board and management on a courtesy visit to Governor Seriake Dickson in Government House, Yenogoa.
Ndoma-Egba, who lamented that the commission had too many projects in its books, said: “In the next couple of days, the NDDC will cancel about N200 billion projects from our books.
“We need to reduce the projects we are handling to a manageable number that will make more impact.”
“We are forging a new relationship with stakeholders in the region.
He added: “The new spirit of cooperation entails our not competing with the states and local governments.
“To deepen this new relationship, we have written to the President to re-activate the Advisory Committee and the Project Monitoring Committee.
“We need these two committees to be able to share our visions for the region and avoid duplication. We need the project Monitoring committee to enable us earn the trust of our partners.”
The commission also disclosed that it had so far completed 233 projects in Bayelsa State valued at N38.8b.
Other members of the NDDC delegation were the Managing Director, Nsima Ekere; the Executive Director Projects, Samuel Adjogbe, FNSE, the Bayelsa State representative on the NDDC board, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa and other directors of the Commission.
Ndoma-Egba further pledged that the commission would complete the 25.7km Ogbia-Nembe Road being executed in conjunction with the Shell Petroleum Development Commission (SPDC) before the end of the year.
“We must finish and commission the Ogbia-Nembe Road. It is a commitment we must fulfill this year,” he said.
He said that the Commission was implementing four strategies of restructuring the commission’s balance sheet, which currently has about N1.2trillion projects.
This, according to him, will enable it reform the governance systems to ensure compliance with extant rules and regulations to prevent past mistakes.
The chairman stressed the need for the commission to return to the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, which was launched with fanfare in 2007.
He said: “The stakeholders will decide whether to terminate that Master Plan, update it or upgrade it. But a Master Plan is very necessary.
“The commission is thinking beyond oil because oil is a finite resource, which will one day dry up. Someday, technology may make it irrelevant.”
Dickson expressed delight at the Ogbia-Nembe road project, which was opening up 14 communities to economic activities and modern development.
He said that his administration was ready to partner with the NDDC.
He said: “We thank the Federal Government for creating different platforms, including the NDDC to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta which has suffered a lot of neglect in the past.”
Dickson advised stakeholders in the region to put in more efforts to change the negative perception of the oil-rich region.
He said: “While we blame the Federal Government, we should also look inwards to make a difference and change the narrative in the region.
“Our people are dying from the hazards of oil and gas exploration and exploitation with no concrete benefits to our people.”
Governor Dickson advised the NDDC to ensure that available resources were channeled to projects that would affect the lives of the people.
The governor said that the calibre of people in the present NDDC board gives causes for optimism in the days ahead, adding: “We cannot afford the luxury of playing politics with matters of development.”