The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed the interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) defray the existing liabilities of the Commission through the implementation of its 2019 budget.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, handed down the directive when the Interim management of the Commission led its Acting Managing Director, Mrs Joy Nunieh presented the Commission’s 2019 budget before the Committee
The Committee also directed the management as a matter of urgency recover the over N1 trillion it was being owed by various entities including the Federal government, International Oil companies, Banks and others to help it offset the liabilities.
Recall that the House had resolved that it would only consider its 2019 budget for implementation and later act on its 2020 budget proposal.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Tunji-Ojo, lamented that the Commission had failed to implement its 2019 budget due to widespread infractions and untoward practices by its former management.
He said that although it was no fault of the new management but the House was concerned with the rot in the Commission which had deprived the people of Niger Delta region of the needed developments over the years.
The law maker disclosed that as part of the measures to implement the recommendations made by the committee on the NDDC 2019 budget, the Commission must present the list of all contractors being owed with valid documents to backup their claims.
Hon Tunji-Ojo, however, disclosed that payment to claims would only be made after a through verification and approval of the committee.
He assured the management that the committee would soon present the findings of the public hearing conducted recently to the House for further legislative action.
He added that when approved by the House all the ongoing projects in the NNDC 2019 budget would be rolled over to the Commission’s 2020 budget which would be considered after the approval of its 2019 budget.
The Committee chairman lamented that, due to the mess in the NDDC, the commission was 14 months behind schedule in its 2019 budget implementation which he said was a huge drawback.
In her presentation to the committee,the Acting NDDC Managing Director, Mrs Joy Nunieh, disclosed that, N346,513,046,220 was proposed by the NDDC as 2019 budget based on assumption of improved revenue inflow.
She, however, disclosed that as at December 2018, the aggregate revenue inflow was N291.47 billion.
According to her: “The Overhead expenditure (Personnel, Recurrent and Internal Capital) elapses December 31st similarly, (N35.07bn) N35,079,320,850 representing 99.8% was spent. The Capital expenditure (Development Project) elapsed July 31st 2019 while (N255.09bn) N255,096,800,000 representing 82% was spent during the review year.
“The Commission recorded 83% on its performance for 2018.”
Shedding more light on the findings about infractions in the NDDC, the Acting MD disclosed that the new management had uncovered bogus claims on projects by various contractors.
Mrs Ayenreka noted that many fake IOCs were discovered by the Commission in the course of its investigations adding that many contracts were duplicated through state governments, NDDC, FERMA and other agencies.
She said that many contractors have also been issued certificates for projects not executed saying that the Commission would fish out persons that authorised or issued the certificates for proper sanctions.
She said that, the NDDC had resolved to suspend all emergency contracts awarded by the NDDC as most of them did not follow the laid down procedures and due process.
She added that reforms to involve the people of the region to take ownership of the projects and ensure their proper execution is underway as people are being encouraged to go back home to invest and be involved in the development of the region.
According to her: “The move is to align with President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms to ensure transparency in the activities of the NDDC to serve the people of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking after the budget presentation by the Acting NDDC MD, Chairman of the committee advised the Commission to lower its revenue projection in its proppsed 2020 budget to make it realistic.
He also advised against the suspension of all emergency projects as according to him, the emergency projects serve as the quickest lifeline to the people of the Niger Delta that meets their immediate infrastructural and other needs.