Stakeholders seek bail out for NDDC abandoned projects
In a statement issued at the end of the Partnership for Sustainable Development Forum organised by the NDDC in Port Harcourt yesterday, stakeholders comprising the Federal Government, oil producing state governments, oil companies and other critical partners advocated that the NDDC should be funded fully and in the interim given bail out fund to complete its projects in the Niger Delta.
To boost the funding of the commission, the Federal Government has also been tasked to compel the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to commence its own contribution to the funding of the NDDC since it is a gas producing company in the Niger Delta region in accordance with the NDDC Act.
The forum acknowledged the fall in the price of crude oil, but appealed to the office of the accountant general of the federation to set up a team to verify the debt owed the NDDC from inception, including ecological funds so that the Federal Government can set up the repayment scheme.
Stakeholders at the first Partnership for Sustainable Development to be held in four years and attended by the Vice President, the Secretary to the Federal Government, the chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta, the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta as well as representatives of oil companies, emphasised that there is need to reintroduce medium term framework in NDDC for effective budget planning and implementation.
To fast-track the development of the Niger Delta, the forum recommended that steps should be taken to pursue public-private partnership towards greater access to resources for development of the region as well as ensure timely release of statutory contributions by stakeholders, look beyond petroleum resources to human capital development, targeting especially youths of the region.
In a bid to identify and harness potentials of Niger Delta youths for effective development, the forum called for improved qualitative education through enhanced access to information technology. The stakeholders also stressed that there is need to revive technical and vocation educational institutions to promote creative skills as well as enhance entrepreneurship to cultivate the culture of independence.
The forum also called for the review of the Niger Delta master plan to reflect the current realities to include projects adaptability for the various tiers of government.
Concerned about the adverse impact of oil exploration on the environment, the forum recommended an increased investment towards elimination of gas flaring in the Niger Delta. They insisted that there is need for biodiversity assessment in the area to create a data base and monitor changes with a view to checkmate extinction.