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NEITI says N7.4bn allocated by NDDC for state projects can’t be traced

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has stated that the sum of N7.4 Billion allocated to member states of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for grass root development projects in the respective states could not be accounted for while twenty two of such projects valued at N1. 19 Billion were duplicated.

The watchdog organization noted that the the information was contained in its Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit Report covering 2007-2011, added that it will partner with the commission to enthrone transparency and accountability in the operations of the agency.

A statement from NEITI noted that the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, who gave the assessment in his presentation to the Retreat of the Commission held in Port Harcourt, urged the new team at the NDDC to learn to do more with less.

Adio also welcomed new relationship with the agency, even as he stressed the Commission’s interventions and extractive industry transparency over the years.

He pointed out that NDDC has awarded contracts worth N2.4 trillion since inception, adding that over N7.4B allocated to state offices of NDDC for projects cannot be traced.

According to the NEITI boss, investigations by the agency shows that 22 NDDC projects were duplicated, while oil companies underpaid by $390M, even as he urged the new team management team to investigate the incidents.

Adio, who was represented by NEITI’s Director Communications Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, disclosed that remittances to NDDC since 2007 from its reports stand at $1.98 billion.

A breakdown of revenue remittances to NDDC shows that between 2007 – 2011, the agency received N594 billion; $559 million was remitted in 2012; $563 million in 2013; and $865 million in 2014.

The NEITI boss also called on NDDC to commit fully to EITI standards to develop the Niger Delta n reverse resource curse n reduce poverty

According to him, “NDDC should embrace the principles of EITI on contract transparency and beneficial ownership disclosures. NDDC should carry out urgently project implementation audits. It should conduct a corruption risk assessment of its operations.”

Adio noted that the NDDC and NEITI were set up with similar mandates targeted at addressing the syndrome of resource curse, a situation where countries like Nigeria blessed with abundant natural resources find their larger population living in abject poverty as a result of over – dependence on the natural resource and mismanagement of revenues accruing from the resource.

NEITI statement that made this disclosure noted that the Executive Secretary, lamented that over the years public perception of NDDC was more of an agency with huge revenue resources but with little impact on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.

The Executive Secretary who was represented by NEITI’s Director, Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, urged the new team at the NDDC to carry out a corruption risk assessment that will enable the agency develop a framework to strengthen its operations.

The NEITI Reports presented to the Commission’s Retreat disclosed that a total of $1.98 Billion were remitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2007 and 2014.

This was in addition to the sum of N594 billion paid to the Commission in local currency during the same period.

The breakdown of the remittances shows that NDDC received N594 Billion from 2007 to 2011 while $559 Million was paid to the Commission in 2012.

NEITI Report findings also show that in 2013, the NDDC received $563 Million while in 2014, the sum of $865 Million were remitted to the Commission.

The NEITI Executive Secretary urged the new Board and Management of the NDDC to carry out an independent project implementation audit, commit to good corporate governance and the principles of the global extractive industries transparency initiative.

The Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, welcomed the emerging partnership between NEITI and the NDDC and pledged to use the NEITI Reports as major tools to enthrone accountability and corporate governance.

He gave the assurance that the NDDC under the new Board and management will fully embrace the principles of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to reverse the resource curse syndrome in the Niger Delta, through efficient resource utilization, corporate governance and project delivery.

The NDDC Retreat was attended by members of the National Assembly, Ministers, the media, civil society and development partners.

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