Published On: Tue, Jun 17th, 2014

4,000 NDDC’S Uncompleted Projects Litter Niger Delta Region

LAGOS JUNE 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-THE Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is in a pitiable state it may never recover from, if it continues operating in its current ways. The 14-year-old interventionist agency, while defending its 2014 budget, claimed it had 4,000 uncompleted projects.
While this could have been said to elicit more funds for the commission, it portrayed NDDC as an organisation without focus. How could it have piled up 4,000 uncompleted projects – an average of 286 uncompleted projects per annum? Would these projects ever be completed?

According to its official website, “NDDC was established in 2000 with the mission of facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful”.
Its failure accounted for the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta and other sub-agencies that are dealing with issues NDDC did not manage well. The 4,000 uncompleted projects summarise NDDC’s performance.
It became a contract-driven commission from inception.
NDDC has a master plan completed in 2005. It never uses it. Contracts are awarded without care about funds for their execution. Of all its mandates, the one NDDC implements most fervently states, “executing such other works and performing such other functions, which in the opinion of the Commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people”. NDDC “executes such other works”, though “sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people” is distant from its intentions.
Community projects, States, and oil companies are executing are replicated. Attention is on awarding more contracts from roads to lodges for National Youth Corps members.
The uncompleted contracts are doomed. Many of them – some were awarded more than 10 years ago – have become irrelevant. Others are subject of litigations from aggrieved contractors. Yet, some would never be completed because payment NDDC makes to contractors is too small to continue the work.
Complete records of the contracts are also not available, so it is even more difficult to estimate the cost of completing them, but its N322.6 billion budget proposal for 2014, if solely applied to the projects, is reportedly too small to complete them. NDDC compounds the situation by awarding new contracts to meet “new needs”, the needs of new board members to be seen as “relevant”.
It is time the National Assembly insisted that NDDC applied its budget to completing awarded projects. The new contracts it awards go through the same funding system. They would result in more uncompleted projects.
More importantly, a review of NDDC’s mandate is long overdue. No agency can do “everything”, as NDDC does, and expect not to have uncompleted and abandoned projects lining the landscape.
Source: Vanguard

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