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NDDC’s debt profile was our biggest challenge, says acting MD

By News Express on 11/04/2016

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Mrs Ibim Semenitari, the acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has said that the biggest challenge she had upon assumption of office “was the fact that we owed so many people.”

Semenitari, who made this known in Abuja when she featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, said the commission was owing more than 8,600 contractors between N400 billion and N450 billion..

She said that the paucity of funds coupled with the public perception of the commission became sources of concern for the management of NDDC.

She, however, said that the commission had to deal with both challenges and reinvigorate the workforce to be able to get to its present state.

“The biggest challenge we had upon assumption of office for me was the fact that we owe so many people.

“We were owing more than 8,600 contractors and we are owing between N400 billion and N450 billion.

“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.

“And also reinvigorate the workforce so that people will have a sense of freshness and a sense of new challenges because we can get people back on track.”

According to Sementari, better days will come for the commission by the time its funding partners pay up the amount they are owing.

She said that with payment of the outstanding monies, the projects the commission was handling would become visible.

She added that the late passage of the budget of the commission 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, is 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.”

She, however, called for speedy budget of the commission to ensure smooth operation of the commission within a given financial year. (NAN)

•Photo shows NNDC Acting MD, Ibim Semenitari.

Source News Express

Posted 11/04/2016 04:36:52 AM





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