Banks and contractors doing business with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, may need to gird their loins as the interventionist agency is ready to stop all those contributing to the delays in the completion of development projects in the Niger Delta region. Stating the no-nonsense position of the commission, after inspecting some of its major projects in Rivers State at the weekend, the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, warned that all offending parties may face sanctions.
The inspection covered the two proto-type hostel projects at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST); the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT); the Niger Delta Regional Specialist Hospital; the 15-floor new NDDC headquarters; the permanent site of the Rivers State office and the Eliozu-Oroigwe-Elimgbu Road, all in the Port Harcourt metropolis.
Engr. Omatsuli frowned at the slow pace of work at the UNIPORT hostel, which he blamed on the non-release of funds by a particular bank to the contractor. “We paid in the money for work to continue on the project three months ago and the bank failed to make it available to the contractor. This is totally un-acceptable and we are going to tackle the matter at the board level to act against any bank that is delaying our work,” he said.
He warned that the banks working with the commission stood the risk of being blacklisted if they hinder the work of contractors, noting that it was wrong for some of the banks to set up different conditions for the contractors outside the guidelines by the commission for Advanced Payment Guaranty (APG) disbursement.
The situation at the RUST hostel was also not impressive, as the NDDC Executive Director charged the contractor to correct a number of flaws that were detected during the inspection. To ensure that standards were not compromised, he said that a special monitoring team would be set up by the commission to supervise the contractor to effect all the necessary corrections.
At the Specialist Hospital, comprising the orthopaedic complex and the four-storey cardiovascular centre, Engr. Omatsuli, said that apart from putting up the structures, the NDDC was already partnering with professionals in medical administration for the running of the two specialist hospitals.
He said that the orthopaedic unit would deal with the correction of injuries to the skeletal system, associated muscles, joints and ligaments, while the cardiovascular section would treat heart-related problems. He further said that the NDDC was building similar hospitals in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Delta States to discourage increasing cases of medical tourism among Nigerians.
After inspecting the Eliozu-Elimgbu Road with two bridges, the NDDC executive director regretted that the poor state of the road was giving the commission a bad image. He, therefore, declared that the job would be re-assigned to a more competent contractor.