N1.9trn budget fallout: Indigenous contractors pledge to partner NDDC to  meet mandate

…Appeals to IOCs, others for timely remittances of counterpart funds
From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Indigenous contractors working for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have commended the prompt attention given to the Commission’s N1.9 trillion budget proposal by the National Assembly.
The contractors, operating  under Niger Delta Indigenous contractors Association(NDICA), observed that NDDC has not had its budget past speedy by National Assembly since  its establishment.
They expressed that when the bill is finally signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, it would facilitate the  Samuel Ogbuku-led Board ‘s passion to fast track meaningful development in the region.
The group, in a statement in Port Harcourt,  Rivers State, signed by the Chairman,  Chukwuemeka Amirieze, and the Secretary-General, Prince Sodin Akiagba, heartily thanked the two chambers of the National Assembly for making it happen.
According to the indigenous contractors, the funds when release, would equally ease the payment of the outstanding debts owed members of NDICA, by the previous board, which the current  management led by Ogbuku, is gradually offsetting to tame the rising  protests and rancour between the commission and contractors.
NDICA expressed its  appreciations in the current NDDC management and Board for the efforts shown on clearing lingering debts and resolved to support the administration  to achieve its statutory mandates by deploying best practices in contract delivery across the region.
Speaking on project supervision, NDICA said the new management was on top of the game to the extent that if you have not executed your project, you will not be paid.
The group also expressed confidence in the Ogbuku-led management, as well as the board of the Commission led by Mr. Chiedu Ebie.
They also called for prompt release, remission of their three percent allocation by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the region, as their counterpart funds for the development of the oil producing region.
NDICA said:  “We are aware that the Commission needs lots of funds to clear outstanding debts and fast-track construction works in the region.”
NDICA, however, pleaded with all funding and developmental partners for timely release of their financial contributions for uninterrupted and hitch-free realization of the noble objectives of the NDDC’s people-oriented projects.
The contractors equally thanked the Senate Committee on NDDC for its role in the swift passing of the appropriation bill, noting that it is a proof that the Nigerian Senate is concerned about the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking further, Amirieze and Akiagba commended the Ogbuku-led team for the laudable initiatives, programmes,  projects, actions, and achievements recorded so far towards addressing critical developmental needs of the people of the Niger Delta.
On fears of the Commission being able to manage whopping N1.9 trillion in one budget cycle, the NDICA said since the coming on board of  Ogbuku and his team, that they could see capacity.
“We can see energy, we can see capacity and commitment in meeting the expectations of the people. We have absolute trust that they will be able to execute the projects bearing in mind they are dealing with several States and communities.
“The state offices and relevant departments of the Commission have shown capacity to deliver,  especially as each unit head is mandated to work in the field three days in a week.
“As a result of transparency adoption and strict work ethics, the achievements of Ogbuku-led administration have become very remarkable and significant.”
The group further identified key strides of the new management such as youth empowerment initiative, the solar light projects to enhance security architecture, road projects, and other numerous rural intervention projects.
They expressed optimism that the budget would address the critical long standing developmental challenges that have traumatised the Niger Delta region over years, and called for the cooperation of every member state in the region.

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