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NDDC Calls On States To Pay Off N2trillion Debts

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By By Gloria Essien, Abuja

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Sam Ogbuku, has called on state governments to pay the interventionist agency over two trillion naira being owed to the agency.

He made the call when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDDC, chaired by Hon Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake.

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He said that the sum was the accumulation of fifteen percent of the allocation of the nine states that make up the region, which is due to the Commission since year 2000.

The MD also lamented that despite the passing of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 budgets of the Commission, they were yet to get the funds till date.

“I want to raise an important issue. When we talk about funding, the NDDC Act says the monthly allocation from the Federal Government is 15 percent of the allocation of nine states of the Niger Delta. But I can assure you that since the inception of the NDDC, it has not gotten that. The Federal Government only budgets what it wants to give to NDDC for that year and they give it that year. If you look at the 15 percent, we are not getting the 15 percent. Even with the removal of fuel subsidy and with the increment of states allocation, NDDC is still where it is. So, these are issues we want you to help us resolve and we have done our calculation that from 2000 till date, we can say we are being owed over N2 trillion from what is supposed to be due NDDC,” Dr Ogbuku said.

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He said that despite fast-tracking the three-year budget of the Commission, they were yet to get the funds.

“We also came in at a point where NDDC never had a budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023. These budgets were before the National Assembly and we had to fast track the passage of those budgets and those budgets were eventually passed in April this year. However, since the budget was passed, it has not been handed over to us up till now. We would pray and plead with you to ensure that as fast as possible, you also facilitate the process for us to have the budget because the budget year is already coming to an end,” he said.

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He also said that due to the huge debt burden of the Commission, which was due to a malfunctioning of the system, they had to launch a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement in April this year, where private and public entities can also fund projects in the NDDC.

On his part, the Chairman of the NDDC Board, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, assured that they would maintain the best of relationships with the committee and National Assembly.

He also promised that they would work as a team to ensure that the narrative of the commission is changed for the better.

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Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Ibori-Suenu Erhiatake, promised to look into the issues raised by the Commission, with a view to addressing them.

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She said the committee wants to be able to work with the Board to achieve the goal of changing the narrative of the Niger Delta and the Commission to improve the lives and conditions of the people of the region.

“It is very important we create a platform for synergy in implementation of these policies and programmes for the general benefit of Nigerians and especially the people of the Niger Delta. I assure you that this committee is willing and ready to partner with you to make sure that the dividends of democracy are brought to the region and the narratives that had been set by the previous board are changed for the better.

“On this note I would want to seek your cooperation as a board and to ensure that every information we get from you is what we can work with as a committee and that everything we do henceforth is in the discharge of our duties to our people.

“On the issue of the budget, we would look into and find out why it hasn’t been transmitted to the Commission. For the time frame I cannot really say, but now you have brought it to our attention, we would look into it.”

She added that every member of the committee was committed and ready to carry out their mandate effectively.

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