• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo


NDDC’s partners renew calls for release of over N900bn development funds


Partners and stakeholders for the development of the oil region have blamed non-release of funds amounting to over N900 billion for the renewed violence in Niger Delta.

The stakeholders spoke one after the other at the 2016 edition of the Partnership for Sustainable Development (PSD) held yesterday in Port Harcourt.

The call was kick-started by the Abia State government, led by the governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who spoke through his special adviser on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ebere Felix.

The governor remarked during the plenary of the PSD that the new NDDC under the leadership of Ibim Semenitari had lifted the veil that had made it impossible for partners to know what was happening in the Commission.

The governor said contractors were rushing back to project sites because there was a new firmness on how things should be done. The Abia State government is happy with the PSD and the opportunity to share ideas in building the oil region”.

Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

He urged those owing the NDDC to make haste and release the funds so the Commission can move in the area of youth empowerment and job creation because it has become an urgent issue.

The call was taken further by the national chairman of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producers Association of Nigeria (TROMPCOM), the paramount ruler of Mgbirichi in Imo State, Raphael I.A Ikegwuruka.

The Eze regretted the inability of the contributors to the fund to release the huge arrears and urged them to act quickly to enable the new NDDC mobilise to more projects.

He said it is only when that is done that the stakeholders would could turn to the NDDC and hold them accountable for failure. He said renewed bombing of oil facilities must stop so that more oil revenue could accrue to the region and the NDDC for project execution.

The contractors also joined in the call, saying no amount of forums and conferences would change anything without money. “We are the people who do the work that gives NDDC the name it has. Without release of funds to the Commission, the new zeal to do things better would not work”.

The NDDC is owed over N900 billion calculated from actual amount the Federal Government ought to remit from oil revenue, funds from ecological funds, state contributions, three per cent of oil budgets of oil companies, etc.

Calling for collaboration and genuine partnership, the acting managing director regretted that many partners failed to point to what they were bringing to the table. “Genuine partnership requires each party to bring something to the table. It is not proper to come asking NDDC provide the funds, expertise, everything. Please we want genuine partnerships, give us money. We do not have the money to fund all our projects.”

Adding some jokes, she said it would amount to obtaining by force (instead of obtaining by tricks, OBT), to expect the Commission to provide everything in a partnership.

She gave illustrations of viable partnerships and how these can move the region forward. Various experts provided papers on how to manage partnerships for the fast development of the region.