By Patrick Odey
The Niger Delta Development Commission said that it has begun a process that would eliminate duplication and wastage, and put an end to the era of working at cross purposes with state governors in the region.
The managing director and Chief Executive Officer of NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku made this known in his address during the forum of the 2024 budget of reconstruction conference with the theme “Partners for Sustainable Development Forum-NDDC 2024”, held at Ibom Icon Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Monday.
He said the stakeholders’ forum was aimed at providing a platform for achieving an effective budgeting system in line with the “Renewed Hope’’ project of the Federal Government.
“This conference is very vital. For one, it helps to revive the platform of the partners for sustainable development forum which was created as part of the regional master plan implementation guideline, to bring all service providers and project implementers to the same table to fashion a common pathway based on shared vision for the development of the Niger Delta region.
“For another, it affords all of us the incentive and opportunity to pool our resources together, initiate projects and programmes within the obligatory goal of building a better region and empowering our people.
“By so doing, we would, arising from the conference, galvanize our energies for a common purpose, eliminate duplications and institutional suspicions in the development process, reduce incidence of working at cross purposes as well as reduce wastage of scarce resources allocated for regional developmental initiatives by all stakeholders”, Ogbuku said.
In his keynote address the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Niger Delta Affaira, Dr Shuaib Belgore, attributed the poor implementation strategy of the commission over the years on late submission of budgets.
Belgore who was represented by the director of Planning and Statistics of the ministry Mr Alfred Abba, urged the new management to evolve and adopt a budgetary process that would be in tandem with the stipulated provisions of the relevant Establishment Act.
He said, “Undoubtedly, NDDC budgets over the years have been faced with challenges, which included belated submission, delayed approvals amongst others.
“These challenges have led to low/poor implementation of which this conference intends to address. I will encourage the Commission to continue to evolve and adopt a budgetary process that is in tandem with the stipulated provisions of the relevant Establishment Act.
“The Sections 18 and 19 of the NDDC Act, require the Commission’s Board to submit a Budget proposal of a succeeding year, no later than 30th September of the current year, thus the 2024 Budget of the Commission ought to be submitted by 30th September, 2023.”
While promising that the ministry would avail the Commission with the necessary assistance needed to ensure passage of it annual budgets,he called on the commission to embrace a robust and innovative pathways anchored on transparency and Stakeholder participation towards right-budgeting.
The two-day conference has in attendance representatives of governments of the 9 Niger Delta states, international oil companies, traditional rulers, youth groups, civil society organizations among others.