New Telegraph

Senate Knocks IOCs For Owing NDDC

The Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission has knocked the International Oil Companies for not remitting funds owed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Sen. Asuquo Ekpenyong, the Chairman of the Committee made this known during an interactive session with the management of NDDC on Thursday in Abuja.

Ekpenyong said that one thing was certain, that the NDDC has a revenue issue, in terms of the fact that the IOCs and the Federal Government are not remitting what they ought to.

He said, “When you have a situation where you have a debt profile of over a trillion naira, you are no longer talking about sustainable development.

“When you have a debt profile that high, contractors who have the capacity to deliver will run away from executing your contract. What you will be left with are people learning on the budget. We have to reverse the trend.

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“It is a contravention for any IOC or any Federal Government parastatal to refuse to adhere to the law guiding the commission.”

The chairman said that the committee would invite IOCs who have refused to make remittances to the commission.

Ekpeyong noted, “The infractions of the IOCs who have refused to remit what they ought to the commission as well parastatals or agencies, the Senate will invite them accordingly.

“We will nip the backward and negative trend that had been the story of the commission over the last couple of years.”

He further stated that the commission was established by an Act of parliament which inherently stated the contribution of the Federal Government and IOCs to the treasury of NDDC for the purpose of developing the Niger Delta.

He added, “This is for conceiving, planning and implementation of projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“The commission has performed creditably well in certain areas but has failed to perform in other areas.

“Worthy of note is its performance over the course of the 9th Assembly. I feel there was a breakdown in the relationship between the commission and the 9th Assembly. “

“I think it’s imperative at the beginning of this 10th Assembly, we start off on a good footing. This commission so purposed, as it bears in its title name, is the development of the Niger Delta area,” he added.

On his part, the Managing Director, NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, said that there was a need to offset the over N1tn debt owed to the commission.

“Our debt is, calculated as of today over a trillion naira.

“We are looking at the process of making provision of maybe N100,000,000,000 every year for payment of old debts so that we create a balance between payment of old debt and carrying out new projects.

“These debts are debts of projects been owed, the ones that are been completed, the ones that have been awarded that have not started, all these put together form the debt of the NDDC.”

Ogbuku added, “You can link the indebtedness of NDDC to even abandoned projects and appropriation of funds.

“This is because, sometimes we find out some of the projects that are ongoing in the next budget year, through the process of budgeting some of these projects are deleted from the budget and you can not fund those projects if they are no longer in the budget.’

He said that to correct all these anomalies, the commission decided to engage in Partners for Sustainable Development.

Ogbuku also said that the commission was ready to partner with the Senate for a better working relationship.

“We want to have the best working relationship because we know the national assembly is there to complement what we are doing.”

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