The Board Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Ewa Henshaw, Wednesday informed the Senate that no fewer than 4000 uncompleted projects worth trillions of Naira scattered across nine Niger Delta states.
This is even as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator James Manager, raised the alarm that Nigeria was currently enjoying fragile peace in the Niger Delta region, insisting that the rapid development of the area remained the best way to avoid future crisis there.
The was set up by the Obasanjo administration to address the problems of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta and oil producing states, through provision of infrastructures.
Henshaw who made the disclosure during the budget defence session of the agency’s N322.6bn before the Senate Committee on the NDDC , however, expressed concern about the level of uncompleted projects in the area.
He said that the partnership with the private firms to co-fund the uncompleted projects and the newly introduced ones, would leverage on the funds available to the commission, and ensure their timely completion.
He expressed confidence that the latest arrangement will solve 80 percent of the problems bedevilling the activities of the commission in the area.
He also hinted that the agency planned to abolish the 15 percent mobilisation fund for contractors, stressing that the practice caused the series of abandoned projects in the area.
Under the new practice, Henshaw said projects awarded would be adequately funded and completed within 24 months.
“We have decided to lay an agenda for NDDC that will enable us implement flagship legacy projects within the subregion. What this means is that we will tackle very important jobs and developmental projects in the areas of road, power, health sector and the environment,” he said.
Adding: “We recognize the difficulty that we confront with funding but we have been careful in trying to identify the sources of funding that will finance this year’s budget.
“In addition to that we have also decided to focus more on partnerships, partnerships that will help us augment funding for the development of the subregion.
“For example, on roads, we are looking at construction companies that will co-fund major projects with us so that we can leverage on what we have in terms of the available funds and then programme to ensure that this projects are completed in a timely and businesslike manner.”
Also, according to Senator Manager,” “If the Niger Delta region is happy, Nigeria is happy. If the Niger Delta region is unhappy Nigeria will be unhappy. You know the reasons why.
“I believe that every other part of Nigeria is important but if there is a problem in the area, Nigeria will be in trouble. But this one is a very special one.”