By Ogenyi Ogenyi,Uyo
The Federal Government has charged the new Board of the Niget Delta Development Commission,NDDC, to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations of the report of the forensic audit in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
This is even as the Commission has appealed to the FG to remove it from Treasury Single Account (TSA) financial framework for maximum performance and efficiency.
Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Engr Abubakar Momoh, who gave the charge while declaring open a three day retreat for the board and management of the NDDC last weekend at Ikot Ekpene however acknowledged the significance role being played by commission in fostering development in the region.
Momoh urged them to make meaningful headway in charting a roadmap for sustainable development of the region while also drawing the attention of the board to the need to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of all contracts to ensure compliance with the scope and other details
“As you are all aware, the Forensic Audit had been concluded and its report submitted to Government. While the White Paper on the report of the Forensic Audit is being awaited, some of its recommendations, are being implemented; an example is the constitution of a New Board for the Commission.
“The tasks before this New Board shall include a faithful implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Forensic Audit, in line with the President’s “Renewed Hope agenda.
“I want to remind us that if we must make any headway in charting the desired roadmap for sustainable development of the region, all hands must be on deck, with every courage it deserves, to tackle those factors that have constituted a clog in the wheel of development programmes and policies in the region.
“It is expedient that I draw your attention to the need to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of all contracts to ensure compliance with the scope and other details”. The minister said.
Chairman of NDDC board Mr Chiedu Ebie, in an address said that the gathering was a reflection of Tinubu’s desire to have a Niger Delta transformed into a zone of peace and development.
“Since our inauguration. as a highly accountable and proactive board, we have achieved progress together, we have worked to dispel the negative narratives that once plagued the commission.” Ebie said.
Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom who was represented by his deputy, Senator Akon Ayakenyi, called for effective collaboration between the state and NDDC to enable it achieve it mandates of sustainable development in the region.
In appealing for the removal of the commission from TSA, NDDC Managing Director Dr Samuel Ogboku said though it recognized the importance of transparency and accountability, principles enshrined in the TSA policy, such financial framework has it weighty limitations for the interventionist agency.
“To truly deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda, we need to remove funding impediments.We advocate the removal of the NDDC from operating under the TSA framework due to the Commission’s unique characteristics and the potential benefits of increased autonomy in financial management.” Ogbuku said.
The MD said operating under TSA framework may limit the commission’s financial autonomy and hinder it from quickly adapting to emerging needs or unforeseen circumstances as well as limiting its flexibility in resource allocation.
“The TSA framework may limit the NDDC’s financial autonomy, as all funds must pass through a centralized account, potentially affecting the speed of financial decision-making in response to regional development needs.
“The rigid budgetary discipline enforced by TSA may hinder the NDDC’s ability to quickly adapt to emerging needs or unforeseen circumstances, limiting its flexibility in resource allocation.
“While we embrace the TSA’s transparency goals, its centralized control has undoubtedly created hurdles, particularly in maintaining project pace. The limited construction window further compounds these challenges”