Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says the current biggest challenge before the commission was payment of contractors owed by the commission.
Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Ibim Semenitari made this disclosure during a forum with newsmen in Abuja.
Semenitari revealed that when she assumed office as Managing Director, the NDDC owed more than 8,600 contractors between N400 billion and N450 billion.
She announced that 600 of them have been paid by her administration.
The NDDC boss said the commission had to deal with both challenges and reinvigorate the workforce to be able to get to where it is today.
“That’s a lot of money; so the first challenge was you have so many contracts and you have so much debt – so there was a big hole right there.
“The second was the perception problem. The commission was perceived rightly or wrongly as a place you just come, take your own share and go; it was also perceived to be a corrupt place.
“And we also had to deal with the need to professionalise the workforce basically in terms of how you reposition the people.
Senemitari identified the late passage of the budget of the commission as a factor that had hampered proper planning and proper management of the commission.
“By law, we are funded with three per cent from oil companies; we are funded from the ecological fund and then we are also funded from the amount of money accruable to the state.
“We had a situation where we were being owed by all of our funding partners.
“The Federal Government, who is our owner, was owing us about N800 billion.
“Whereas the law provides for specific kinds of funding for the commission, unfortunately the commission had not been receiving its own funds as at when due; so this was one of the challenges that I had to deal with.
“And then of course perhaps the last and the critical one is the fact of late budgets. The NDDC budget is always late and that doesn’t help for planning.
“It comes so late in the year, indeed I hear sometimes as late as October, by which time the year is ending.
“And that’s because the NDDC budget by the budget practice doesn’t go along with all the other budgets.
“For that reason the budget process of the NDDC begins after and so terminates ridiculously late in the year, by which time of course by planning and everything make us almost ridiculous and impossible for the management to function within the appropriation act.’’
“As at Jan. 1 2016, our balance of account was N9.9 billion. And then within this period under review that is – January to March- for that first quarter, we received N6.8 billion from the Federal Government and N32 billion from oil companies, so that total inflow as at March was about N48. 9billion.
“These are the expenses we have made in the course of the period.
“The recurrent payment including salary and allowances and other expenditure were stood at N7 billion and payment for projects stood at N9.2 billion.
“There was no accusation of any capital fixed asset within the period under review.
“So, the total of expenditure within the period under review is N16.3 billion.”
“Basically, what I am saying is that I have addressed over 600 contractors