The 2014 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is geared towards addressing the goals of the consolidation phase of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, which is now in its 7th year. This was part of the highlights of the presentation made by the commission’s Managing Director, Sir (Barr) Bassey Dan-Abia, to members of the House of Representative’s Committee on NDDC at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer who was represented by the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Dr Henry Itotenaan Ogiri said that the thrust of the 2014 budget would be to consolidate the commission’s efforts in “employment generation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation” which were the focus of previous budgets. He said that the budget, tagged “Budget of Recovery and Restoration” would leverage on human capital development, job creation and partnerships, in line with Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda.
He said: “This year marks another milestone in our effort to offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic challenges of the region, with the relatively early presentation of the 2014 budget. We now need to build on the mandate given to us to uplift the standards of living of the people of the region through stronger developmental and economic reforms to deliver sustainable growth and create jobs.”
Sir Dan-Abia said that the commission had already introduced some human capital development programmes that would have great impact in the Niger Delta in the years ahead. According to him, “some of them include the entrepreneurship development and empowerment programme; NDDC post-graduate scholarship scheme, women training etc. The strategic aim is to create necessary interface with the industry that will engender effective engagement of these youths and women after their training. Our belief is that we need to continuously build the capacity of our people in line with the recommendations of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.”
The NDDC boss reviewed the achievements of the commission in the 2013 budget year. In the year under review, he said that skills acquisition programme empowered 500 youths in welding and fabrication, as well as driving entrepreneurship development. He further said that 500 farmers received subsidized inputs while over 2,000 young men and women across the region were trained in agricultural methods and provided them with starter kits for fishery, snail keeping and animal rearing.
Sir Dan-Abia said that the commission also constructed about 550 kilometres of roads; completed over 50 water schemes, in addition to providing electricity to about 70 communities. In education, he said that the commission delivered 4 new 500-bed hostels to 4 universities in the region. “The commission has also undertaken the construction and repairs of specialist hospitals and cardiovascular hospital in partnership with private sector service providers. 89 patients benefitted from our foreign medical aids on life-threatening ailments and 5000 benefitted from our free medical service programme,” he said.