Ogbuku: NDDC has shifted from transaction to transformation

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, says the Commission as path of its rebirth and rewind policy is “transiting from transaction to transformation” in the process of developing the Niger Delta region.

The Managing Director said this at a Two-Day Board and Management Retreat in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

Ogbuku stated that the Commission was strengthening its processes and improving its corporate governance system.

He said the NDDC was committed to actualising a thriving Niger Delta through the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government.

He Stressed: “We are not just building roads and bridges. 

“We are stitching together a vibrant tapestry of development, from healthcare and education to skills development and job creation.”

The Managing Director said one of the issues that needed to be addressed was the financial framework for effective service delivery. 

He explained: “At present, we operate under the Treasury Single Account framework.

“We recognise the importance of transparency and accountability, principles enshrined in the Treasury Single Account policy. 

“The impact of TSA on NDDC operations, like other agencies, includes improved financial management, increased oversight, budgetary discipline, and enhanced cash management. 

“Centralising revenue through TSA enhances transparency, facilitates government monitoring, enforces budgetary discipline, and streamlines cash management.

“However, a one-size-fits-all approach poses challenges to our diverse operational landscape. 

“Although it is good for transparency, accountability and efficient pooling of public resources, the TSA policy has weighty limitations for an interventionist agency like the NDDC.”

Ogbuku noted that the NDDC was able to complete many legacy projects before the TSA regime came into effect. 

He stated: “Many landmark projects were brought to life before the TSA, utilising Advance Payment Guarantees to expedite delivery and ensure timely execution. 

“While we embrace the TSA’s transparency goals, its centralised control has undoubtedly created hurdles, particularly in maintaining project pace. 

“The limited construction window further compounds these challenges. 

“To truly deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda, we need to remove funding impediments.”

The NDDC boss advocated the removal of the Commission from operating under the TSA framework due to its unique characteristics and the potential benefits of increased autonomy in financial management.

He said further: “Such removal will enhance Regional Development Needs; as the NDDC is tasked with addressing specific and urgent development needs in the Niger Delta region. 

“Timely and flexible financial decision-making is crucial to respond effectively to dynamic regional challenges.”

Also speaking, a former Managing Director of the NDDC, Timi Alaibe, said sustainable development represented the pathway to the future.

Alaibe warned: “Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta environment is something that should not be compromised because of the damage to our ecosystem, environment and sociopolitical survival and sustainability.”

He emphasised the need to have a plan to serve the purpose of the Niger Delta people, as well as the need for a Renewed Framework so that no one was left behind. 

In this wise, he called for an urgent review of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on NDDC, Hon. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, observed that the theme of the retreat aligned with the drive to rewrite the narrative of the people of the Niger Delta region.

Hon. Ibori Suenu, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jafaru Gambo Leko, expressed confidence that the Niger Delta stakeholders could collectively achieve the goals of the people.

The House Committee Chairman commended President Tinubu for assembling capable hands to run the NDDC and charged the Board members to see their appointment as a call to service to the people of the Niger Delta and the nation at large.

He added: “Every decision, policy endorsed and projects you undertake should be guided by commitment and be rest assured the National Assembly will support you in the discharge of your mandate.”

The Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Dr. Akon Eyakenyi, said the state was willing to partner with the NDDC to ensure that the people benefit from being part of the NDDC. 

Eyakenyi noted that the state was transforming its education infrastructure and would want to partner with NDDC in that regard.

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