According to reports, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission Nsima Ekere, says his tenure would make remarkable difference in the lives of the people of the region.
Ekere said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.
The NDDC boss acknowledged the commission’s new arrangement where it reports to the Presidency through the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, saying it will actually add value to the development of the nine oil producing states.
Ekere said: “We will work along these lines that we have highlighted and make sure that we make some remarkable difference in the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.
“In the past we had cases of duplication of projects. This new arrangement will eliminate the problem of duplication of projects from the ministry and the Commission.
“So, it is a good thing and we commend Mr President for that initiative.”
Ekere said they would be restructuring of balance sheet in the commission and it would involve carrying out a project audit.
He said: “The Commission has liabilities that run into well, over a trillion Naira. We will look at the projects that have given rise to this liability.
“We will vet them and see which projects we can go ahead with and those we will discontinue because some of these projects were even not properly awarded in the first place.
“By the time we carry out the auditing, it will help us. The audit will enable us to bring the commission back to its core mandate.”
Ekere said that the commission would ensure that all payments to contractors were tied to bank guarantees.
He said: “We will hold the banks accountable.”
He said that most of the NDDC advance payments that had been made were based on bank guarantees.
Ekere said: “What that means is that the bank is guaranteeing the performance of the contractor.
“So, the first thing we will do will be to go after these banks that guaranteed projects that have failed. We will demand that they give us back our money where the work done doesn’t justify the money that was paid.”
The NDDC boss disclosed that the commission is taking steps to strengthen its procurement processes as part of measures to ensure transparency in the interventionist agency.
NAN recalls that the Chairman of the NDDC Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), underlined the importance of firming up the procurement unit and fine-tuning the processes for better transparency.
Ndoma-Egba regretted that the public image of NDDC had suffered because of the procedures adopted by its procurement unit in the past.
Ndoma-Egba said: “The Commission has not had the most edifying of public images and that is because the procurement processes were opaque.”
The chairman stated that a transparent process would help the commission to get all its outstanding funds.
He said: “We will persuade those who are in arrears to pay and one of the easiest ways of getting them to pay is by ensuring that our processes were transparent.
“The moment they see a certain level of transparency, it will encourage them to live up to their obligations to the commission.
“When the processes are opaque, people will hold back.”