Full Text Of Ag. MD NDDC, MRS IBIM SEMENITARI At The NDDC/CSO Engagement

By Ikenga Chronicles August 10, 2016

Full Text Of Ag. MD NDDC, MRS IBIM SEMENITARI At The NDDC/CSO Engagement

WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE ACTING MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (NDDC), MRS IBIM SEMENITARI, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FOLLOW-UP NDDC/CSO ENGAGEMENT HELD AT THE REENS ARENA, PORTHARCOURT, TUESDAY AUGUST 9, 2016.

On behalf the Management and Staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), I welcome you once again to this NDDC /CSO Interactive engagement. Recall that early on my assumption of office, precisely on January 19, 2016, we met here to cultivate a partnership in which I offered to work with you to develop a new ethical infrastructure in the implementation of projects and programmes in the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Recall also my statement at the forum that the reason for engaging critical voices like yours is because the NDDC remains a prized possession for us and we have a duty to ensure it delivers hope and development of human and material resources for us as a people.

Part of my concerns when I resumed at the NDDC, which I shared with you in our initial engagement, was to ensure an effective transformation of service to the people as well as strengthen transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business. It is to also support wholeheartedly the present administration’s fight against corruption across the entire spectrum of our activities, bring about a determined and sustained drive to eliminate waste in our procurement and all public expenditures. This in my view is only possible if we re-professionalize the workforce to create a new generation of officers with sufficient skills knowledge and motivation to coordinate our management systems.

The observations that emerged from our previous engagement centred on a broad range of issues including:

 

  1. That there is lack of institutionalized engagement between CSOs and the commission.
  2. That the Commission in its contracting process has failed to comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act of 2007.
  3. That there is the lack of investment in human and social infrastructure in the region as a mechanism to mitigate unemployment.
  4. That there is none release of funds to the Commission as at when due.

Part of the resolutions issued as Communiqué includes:

  1. That a mechanism that will strengthen ongoing and sustainable engagement between CSOs and the Commission be put in place at Headquarters and State levels. This we have started with the convening of the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum in July. We have also set up the PSD Organizing Committee headed by the MD/CEO. Representations are also drawn from:
  2. a) Nine member States of the Commission
  3. b) Perm Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
  4. c) Rep, Ministry of Environment
  5. d) Rep, Civil Society Organization
  6. e) Rep, Youth
  7. f) Rep, Women Groups
  8. g) OPTS
  9. h) Rep, Chamber of Commerce
  10. i) Legal Directorate, NDDC – Secretary
  11. That an NDDC standard in contracting, project quality should be put in place as a reference point to other development partners in the region.
  • That there is need for the commission to adhere to the NDDC master plan in its development of the region.
  1. That Group monitoring and evaluation mechanism comprising of CSO representation should be put in place. That is group A- comprising of Delta, Edo and Ondo, group B-Comprising of Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo and Group C-Comprising of Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers and Abia respectively.
  2. Participants demanded that funding due the Commission should be released in a timely manner to enable the commission fulfill its mandate
  3. That human capital development should form key intervention area of the commission

 

NDDC – The New Direction

I have on several occasions articulated my vision of what the new NDDC should be and admitted that even though the Commission has not lived up to its mandate, there is a genuine desire to get it right.

 

Permit me to say that as part of the new culture of efficient and effective service delivery, I have motivated the NDDC workforce to a better output devoid of corrupt practices.

To achieve the Commission’s core mandate, I initiated the following:

  1. A culture of transparency and accountability. That much is reflected in the release of our First quarterly report which is also online on the NDDC website – www.nddc.gov.ng . In our first quarterly report, you will find published our finances and budgeting process; a breakdown of all contracts awarded from inception; and several areas of intervention. The second Quarterly report is due and shall be released to the public soonest. However, we are able to share some of the highlights of the report with you. These include:

 

  1. Sponsorship of NDDC Professional Chair on Malaria         Research in University of Port Harcourt.
  2. Conclusion of the 2016 NDDC Post-Graduate Foreign       Scholarship computer based test and interviews by   external assessors;
  3. Training of 200 beneficiaries in the NDDC Agricultural           Entrepreneurial Skills Development scheme benefited      from the programme which was budgeted for in 2013.
  4. Distribution of tractors to large farms, research institutes          and other related bodies under the NDDC Farm     Mechanization Project large farms to Agricultural   institutes, Research Institutes, Cooperative Societies,           Universities in the region and the nine state governments.
  5. A total number of 374 Farmers Cooperatives out of 1100 (ten member) Cooperatives assessed the NDDC/BoA    Agric loans. Under the partnership arrangement between NDDC and BoA, the Commission deposited a total sum of      N967, 471,029.40 from where disbursement of the loan   facility was made to beneficiaries
  6. The detail of the Commission’s Accounts at as June 30, 2016 is as follows:

A. Opening Balance as at April 1, 2016 -32,651,025,605.91

i. Inflow during the period under review

  1. Federal Government – 10,262,499,999.99
  2. Oil Companies – 26,389,154,827.55

 

Total Inflow – 69,302,680,433.45

 B. Expenditure during the period under review

i. Recurrent Payments – 6,194,174,524.40

ii. Development Projects – 38,312,635,520.26

iii. Capital Fixed Assets                                           – 0.00

 

Total Expenditure -44,506,810,044.66

 C. Cash Balance as June 30, 2016 – 24,795,870.388.79

i. NDDC Standardisation Manual; We have insisted that we must earn value for money in all our projects implementation. To achieve this, we have initiated a partnership with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), to institute the NDDC Standard. Part of our position is that any engineer who compromises his professional ethics to deliver poor quality job should have his registration withdrawn. COREN has already agreed on this and the engagement and committed to deliver by September.

ii. We also launched the Report-A-Bribe Campaign and advised service providers to ensure we collaborate to change the negative image of the Commission;

iii. We also engaged critical stakeholders in decision making – state governments’ engagement in the 2016 Budget, a novel introduction but which is what the Niger Delta Development Master Plan recommends; have insisted for proper projects’ appropriation and quality delivery.

For us at the NDDC, nothing will be too great to provide quality socio-economic foundations for the people. This is more so because Chapter 11 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which is on the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, states in Section 14 (2) b that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

The baseline for health in the region has remained a source of worry to us. One of these key challenges is the malaria scourge. We are worried that malaria still remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges with global estimates of 584,000 deaths in 2014 and 400,000 deaths in 2015.

This worry and the fact that the socio-economic indices makes us one of the worst affected regions of the world, the Niger Delta Development Commission on Tuesday July 5, 2016 endowed a Professorial Chair in Malaria Research for the Centre for Malaria Research and Phytomedicine, (CMRAP), at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State for the sum of N25 million per annum for an initial period of two years. We are optimistic that greater value will emerge from this partnership.

Conclusion:

These are some of the key areas my administration at the NDDC has focused on these past eight months.  Indeed, with your support, we can do more to build a more secure, prosperous and united Niger Delta and a socially rewarding and focused NDDC. I am convinced that these will expand our choices and create more values and opportunities for us as a people.

As we take stock of our gains and losses, I will graciously appeal that you do more to support government in curbing the menace of insecurity, pipeline vandalism and further devastation of the environment. This will change the negative narratives of our region.

We appreciate your sacrifice to honour our invitation and I wish you a    rewarding engagement.

 

 

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