Enmeshed in a soaring debt profile, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has repudiated contracts worth N200 billion in an on-going reform being carried out by its new management.
The organisation has also embarked on streamlining, restructuring and verifying the huge debt as well as the more than 10,000 contracts it inherited from the previous administration.
The commission which was established in 2000 to facilitate the rapid development of the oil rich region, presently has a ratio of one staff to 50 projects.
“The debt profile, is very high; whether real or not is another issue,’’ Mr. Victor Ndoma-Egba, the Chairman of the NDDC, told sources on Friday in Abuja.
The commission vested with to ensure the region was economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful, he said was currently undergoing restructuring in order to focus on its core mandate.
Noting that the image of NDDC had dipped, he said, he had embarked on fine tuning and restructuring of its governance to take the commission back to focus on its core mandate.
“The image of NDDC was very poor. It is not good image. We can only change it through restructuring our governance,’’ he said.
NDDC should not be seen as competing with states and local governments.
“We need to create synergy with other agencies that share responsibilities for Niger Delta.
“We are now committed to doing things right,’’ he explained.
The former senator also explained that the commission was funded from the proceeds of oil and that it could be dangerous if the oil gets out of favour.
“We must contemplate developing Niger Delta beyond oil,’’ he advised.
Earlier the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Bayo Onanuga, who paid a courtesy visit to the chairman, said that the Agency and NDDC have had a long standing relationship, including a deal struck in 2016 on NAN services.
He explained that NAN which would be 40 by October 2018 has undergone reforms in order to be at par with other world news agencies.
Onanuga said NAN had fully gone digital and embraced multimedia and with other services, including the establishment of free-to-read website, PRwire portal and a NANtv aside the regular subscriber based portal.
He explained that NAN has resolved to re-establish its Niger Delta Bureau with headquarters in Asaba to concentrate on robust press coverage and dissemination of information about the area that would fact track development.
“We want to showcase the area to the world to speedy development.”
Onanuga explained that an area that was supposed to swim in affluence was afflicted with poverty.