The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will do what is necessary to assist the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, recover all monies owed the interventionist agency so that it can adequately address the sustainable development of the region.
Speaking at the presentation of the operational documents of the Commission by the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, at the National Assembly on Tuesday, the Chairman the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said the challenge of developing the region was enormous and that all relevant contributors to the NDDC must play their roles diligently.
“The Senate Committee on Niger Delta, in discharging its oversight functions, will ensure that every contributor to NDDC pays what they owe the Commission, because we cannot afford to toy with the development of that very important region. We owe it to the country to make sure we improve the living conditions of the people of the region,” he added.
He promised that the Senate will take up agencies and organisations that are yet to live up to their statutory financial obligations to the Commission, stating that his Committee was ready to do all it takes, including amending the necessary laws, to ensure full compliance by such agencies.
“It’s important that NDDC gets all that is due it from the Ecological Fund, for instance,” he said, pledging to do all that was necessary to resolve the impasse over the non-payment by gas processing companies to the NDDC fund.
Senator Nwaoboshi also declared that the budget of the oil companies should be made public so that the Commission is fully aware of how much is due it, to avoid incidents of shortfall in remittances.
While presenting the status report of the Commission, Semenitari had informed the Senate Committee that NDDC is yet to receive contributions from the Ecological Fund since inception in 2001, while the issue of the contributions from gas processing companies such as Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company was yet to be resolved.
She added: “The amount owed NDDC by the Federal Government from inception due to shortfall in its contributions stands at over N900 billion, as at the end of 2015.”
Ibim Semenitari explained that the shortfall has resulted in the Commission’s inability to fully pay contractors and consultants, stating that “the Commission has current liabilities of over N405 billion.”
She disclosed that the Federal Government has so far contributed a total of about N521 billion to the NDDC, while the total contribution of the oil companies is about N943.3 billion. “Revenues obtained from other sources, including the internally revenue, stands at N7.2billion since inception to date,” the NDDC boss added.
Currently, the Commission has so far awarded contracts for over 8,000 infrastructure projects and 594 programmes, she said.