As part of efforts to ensure the full participation of key stakeholders in the development and in its budget process, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has held a sustainable partnership forum in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Attended by the management staff members of the commission, traditional rulers, youths, oil company executives and top government officials, the two-day conference aimed at engaging the people of the region in the budget process before it submits the 2024 estimates by September 30, 2024.
According to Sam Ogbuku, managing director of the interventionist agency, the commission is laying the foundation for the kind of partnership needed to facilitate regional sustainable development.
He said that the commission was promoting the Public Private Partnership model to provide an alternative source for key development projects and programmes.
Ogbuku, who lamented the challenge of inadequate funding of the commission, noted that the commission has however, continued to erect a veritable platform for sustainable partnership.
“This initiative aligned with the NDDC mandate as well as the sustainable development goals 17 which focuses on partnership.
“That is why this conference is very vital. For one, it helps to revive the platform of the Partners Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum which was created as part of the regional master plan implementation guideline,” he said.
Ogbuku, who spoke at the forum, said the conference hoped to “bring all service providers and project implementers to the same table, to fashion a common pathway based on a shared vision.
“We are improving and strengthening our internal processes and institutional protocols.
“We are taking definitive and definite steps towards following due process in all our operations.
“We must become transparent in ways that build confidence among our partners and stakeholders.
“We must be more mindful in the allocation of funds to projects and programmes and remove all areas of waste,” he said.
In his remarks, Charles Airhiavbere, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, said that the entire budget structure of the commission was being restructured to adhere to the budget cycle.
He also said that the 2924 budget tagged ‘budget of reconstruction’ would ensure that all the regions are involved and ensure that the budget would be that of participation.
The commission announced that its partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company delivered the N24 billion Ogbia-Nembe Road, cutting through mangrove forest.
He added that it showed what can be achieved when stakeholders work together for the development of the region.