NDDC disburses N30bn to contractors – Ekere

Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere

Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, on Tuesday said the commission had disbursed about N30 billion to its contractors.

Ekere, who disclosed this at a meeting with members of NDDC Contractors’ Association in Port Harcourt, said the payment was made by the new Board since it took office in November.

He said the board met over 8,000 projects scattered across the region with many abandoned with liability of about N1.3 trillion.

According to him, the board has also directed that all interim payment certificates bearing below N20 million be processed for immediate payment.

“We believe that process of documentation should be done right.

“There was need for the commission to get its full funding as provided in the NDDC Act which would enable it carry out its mandate,” he said.

Ekere said the board had already met with the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta with a view to ascertain the exact fund owed the commission.

The NDDC boss said that challenges faced by the commission informed why the board used four months to work out its strategic road map for development, anchored on 4-R initiative.

Ekere explained that the 4-R initiative aimed to restructure NDDC’s balance sheet; reform its governance protocols; restore the commission’s core mandate and reaffirm its commitment to doing what was right and proper.

“Part of the reforms involves introduction of technology aimed to enhance service delivery system in the commission.

“We are also reforming the governance systems in NDDC with focus to enshrining best international standard that would be difficult to reverse by successive boards after we leave.

“Also, the board approached oil companies to involve them in our budgeting process to enable them make input; since they are working in host communities who have needs,” he said.

Ekere said the commission had also set up a committee tasked with the responsibility to conduct investigative hearing on allegations of corruption on some of its staffers.

He said the hearing which sought to promote transparency and probity in the commission was however delayed following security breaches at the hearing.

The Managing Director said the committee had received several petitions and memorandum and assured that the committee was currently working tirelessly to resolve the matter.

“I believe in constructive engagement, and as such, we are engaging with various stakeholders to confront challenges facing the Niger Delta,” he said.

President of NDDC Contractors’ Association, Joe Adia, , said the association would continue to work with the board for the release of outstanding funds owed the commission.

He urged the board to recognize the association as partner in progress and pointed out that the commission had a lot to learn if it worked closely with contractors.