Our Correspondent|16 May 2017
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has signed separate Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with two key Development Partners to drive sustainable development in the Niger Delta region.
The two MOUs were signed yesterday at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt between the Commission and Market Development Project in Niger Delta, MADE, as well as Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform in Nigeria, FOSTER.
Speaking at the ceremony, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated that the MOUs reflected the new management's plan and vision to drive sustainable development in the region.
He said that the choice of the partners was deliberate as it showed the determination and readiness of the Commission for openness in its operations. He said: “It could not have been otherwise, since transparency and accountability are the fundamental parameters of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.”
Mr Ekere said that the NDDC Governing Board and Management at its last meeting, ratified the collaboration with technical partners.
He restated the determination of the NDDC “to restore the core mandate of the Commission, restructure the balance sheet and reaffirm the commitment to doing what is right and proper, at all times, for the benefit of the people of this great region.”
He stated: “We hope to send a strong and clear message to the people of the Niger Delta, as well as all Nigerians and international community, that the new Governing Board and Management of the NDDC is committed to ensuring that we establish in the commission and the Niger Delta region, enduring instruments and institutions vital to fulfilling both our mandate and the expectations of the people.
The NDDC boss said that the Commission recognised the need to actively seek and engage key stakeholders and partners to collaborate with and thereby act as the integrator for all plans to develop the Niger Delta.
Mr. Ekere stated: “Under the terms of the MOU, MADE will work with NDDC to boost efforts at stimulating sustainable, pro-poor growth in selected agricultural and other input markets. We will also work to improve the position of economically active but advantaged men and women in these markets, by making them more inclusive.
“This MOU will also enable grant funding for sustainable development initiatives, as well as stimulate growth in Non-Oil Products through enhanced oil palm production, development of poultry farming, training in the production of finished leather goods, training in aquatic farming and media and ICT supported agriculture extension service of the Presidential Amnesty Program.
The NDDC MD declared that the need to diversify the nation’s economy had never been more imperative, adding: “Economic diversification is vital to Niger Delta region’s long-term economic growth and we must align ourselves with initiatives that seek to advance this very vital cause. For this reason, agriculture and other factor markets must be given much needed attention, in order to exploit opportunities that can create vast number of jobs and boost employment profile of the Niger Delta region.”
Giving details of the collaboration with FOSTER, Mr Ekere noted that it would improve reporting as the partner would support production of the commission’s Quarterly Report, ensuring salient informant was captured and presented in a readable and understandable manner.
He said the partnership would “support improvements to prioritization of projects and budgeting. Strengthen transparency, disciplined spending, and generally, engender overhaul of the commission’s internal systems, processes and procedures, with particular emphasis on budgeting, contract administration and program implementation.”
Mr Henry Adigun, the leader of the FOSTER delegation said that the main objective was to provide technical support and strengthen NDDC’s management systems for the delivery of services for development.
He said that FOSTER would support the NDDC reporting system, help to boost budget implementation, as well as assist in Project monitoring and evaluation.
In his own presentation, Mr. Tunde Oderinde, the leader of the MADE delegation, said that the UK-funded Department For International Development, DFID, was a private sector initiative that collaborates with the organizations for maximum impact.
He said that the major area of interaction was in agriculture where about 10,000 people were expected to be impacted. He added that MADE was building an enduring framework to support the projects to make them sustainable.
Mr Oderinde said that the various projects would increase the incomes of at least 150,000 poor men and women in the Niger Delta. He stated: “MADE adopts a market development approach to support growth in the region’s non-oil economy by stimulating sustainable, pro-poor growth in selected agricultural and input markets and improving the position of economically active poor and women in these markets by making them more inclusive.”
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