By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) yesterday disclosed that it is in partnership with multinational firms and corporate organisations in the country to hasten development projects in oil producing states and to avoid cases of abandoned projects by contractors.
The Chairman of the commission’s Board, Bassey Ewa Henshaw, who made the disclosure during the defence of the agency’s N322.6bn 2014 budget before the Senate Committee on NDDC, lamented that over 4000 uncompleted projects worth trillions of naira were currently scattered all over the nine mandate states of the agency.
He said the development informed the decision of the board and management of the agency to partner with some reputable multinational firms and established firms in the country for infrastructure development, health care delivery and power generation among others.
He also said that the partnership with the private firms to co-fund the uncompleted projects and the newly introduced ones, would leverage on the funds available to the commission, and ensure their timely completion.
Ewa expressed confidence that the current arrangement will solve 80 percent of the problems bedeviling the activities of the commission in the oil producing area.
He also hinted that the agency planned to abolish the 15 percent mobilisation fund for contractors stressing that the practice caused the series of abandoned projects in the area. Under the new practice, Henshaw said, projects awarded would be adequately funded and completed within 24 months.
Responding, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, James Manager, raised the alarm that Nigeria was currently enjoying fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.
He noted that rapid development of the area remained the best way to avoid future crisis there, saying “If the Niger Delta region is happy, Nigeria is happy. If the Niger Delta region is unhappy, Nigeria will be unhappy. You know the reasons why.