The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has reached an agreement with the British government to improve the commission’s service delivery to the Niger Delta.
The Managing Director of the commission, Mr Nsima Ekere, disclosed this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on two programmes under the Department of International Development (DFID), in Port Harcourt.
The Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) and the Market Development Project in the Niger Delta (MADE) are the two programmes under DFID, a UK government aid organisation.
Ekere said that NDDC sought assistance from FOSTER and MADE due to the current management’s determination to reposition the commission for better service delivery to the nine Niger Delta states.
“The core mandate of NDDC is to facilitate rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta to one that is economically prosperous, socially stable, politically peaceful and ecologically regenerative.
That explains why upon assumption of office, we felt that we can hardly do it alone without external support and collaboration.To this end, FOSTER will support improvements to prioritization of projects and budgeting while strengthening transparency, discipline spending and overhaul NDDC’s internal systems, processes and procedures. Similarly, FOSTER will provide support for project monitoring and evaluation that tracks projects and programmes from award; implementation to impact assessment,” he said.
Ekere said that the aid organisation would improve the commission’s Quarterly Report and provide technical support and communication strategy for regular engagement with stakeholders in the region.
He explained that MADE, under the terms of the agreement, would work with the commission to assist disadvantaged agriculture marketers with focus to boost agriculture in the region.
According to him, the MoU will also enable grant-funding for sustainable development initiatives that will stimulate growth in Non-Oil Products.
“The fund will enhance oil palm production, development of poultry farming, training in the production of finished leather goods and training in aquatic farming, among others.
“Economic diversification is vital to the region’s long-term economic growth and as such, we must align ourselves with programmes that seek to advance this vital cause. For this reason, agriculture and other factor markets must be given much needed attention in order to exploit opportunities that can create jobs and boost employment in the region,” he said.
Ekere said that both partnership heralded a new future for the commission and was indication of current move by the new NDDC board and management to fast track the region’s development.
Team Lead of FOSTER, Mr Henry Adigun, commended NDDC for the opportunity and assured of the organisation’s determination to rebrand the commission for efficient service delivery.
He said that DFID under which FOSTER operated was particularly concerned with events in the Niger Delta and was willing to provide other support to the region.
On his part, Tunde Oderinde, who led the MADE delegation, said the body would bring its international expertise to boost agriculture in the Niger Delta.