ABUJA, Nigeria – The Senate committee on the NDDC has frowned at the failure of the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies, IOC to remit funds to the tune of N1 trillion owed the commission.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Asuquo Ekpeyoung, APC, Cross River South Senatorial District expressed the reservation at an interactive session with management of the NDDC.
“It seems as though the NDDC has revenue issues, revenue issues in terms of the fact that the IOC and the Federal Government are not remitting what they ought to.
“When you have a situation when you have a debt profile of over a trillion Naira, you are no longer talking of sustainable development. When you have a debt profile that high, contractors that have the capacity to deliver will run away from your contracts, we have to reverse the trend.
“It is a contravention for any IOC, or any Federal Government parastatals agency to refuse to adhere to the law setting up the commission.
He added that the Act of Parliament setting up the NDDC, stipulated the contribution of the Federal Government and IOC to it for the purpose of developing the Niger Delta region.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on NDDC said it will summon the IOCs that have refused to make remittances to the NDDC.
“We will nip this backward and negative trend that has been the story of the commission over the last couple of years.
“This is for conceiving, planning and implementation of projects and programs for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta Region.
“The commission has performed creditably 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 of the relationship between the 9th Assembly and the commission. It is imperative at the beginning of this 10th assembly that we start off on a good footing”, he said.
On his part, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku said there was need to offset the N 1 trillion debt owed the commission. We are looking at payment of N100 billion of the old debt each year so we can create a balance payment of old debts and executing new projects”.
Ogbuku said the NDDC was ready to partner with the Senate for a better working relationship.
“ We want to have a better working relationship because we know the National Assembly is there to complement what we are doing”, he said.