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By Darlington Udobong

As the 7th Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) prepares itself for the task ahead, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, has tasked members of the Board to ensure excellence in the execution of its mandate and make a difference in the region.

The Minister, who made this known in on Friday during a three-day NDDC Board and Management Retreat at the Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, also charged members of the Board and Management of the NDDC to make positive impacts on the lives of the people of the region.

He further urged them to take advantage of the retreat, themed “NDDC: Making a Difference,” and develop templates that will address issues around the NDDC Act, the Public Procurement Act and other key issues bordering on accountability and transparency.

Mr. Umana, who declared the retreat open, said the three days event was richly packaged to equip the Board and Management with relevant information to play their various roles to ensure that the NDDC lives up to its mandate of fast-tracking the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“I trust that this new board, made up of experienced professionals, will not fail, especially with the confidence reposed in them,” the Minister stressed.

He underscored the importance of some of the topics such as: “Essentials of the Public Procurement Act; “Overview of the National Strategy on Public Service Reforms and Critical Issues in Public Service Reforms and “Guidelines to Accounting Procedures and Imperatives in Ministries, Departments and Agencies.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, assured that the Governing Board was set to take the Commission to greater heights, stating: “We will soon roll out plans for developing the Niger Delta region. We will explore new areas of partnerships.”

The NDDC boss observed that the Commission recently inaugurated a committee on Public, Private Partnership (PPP) charged with exploring sustainable relationships which will impact positively on the people of the region. 

According to him, “The PPP Committee is expected to review all the Commission’s existing partnerships as well as explore new partnerships that will result in enduring regional projects.”

Chief Ogbuku said that the Committee will “identify, pursue and secure alternative sources of funding for the Commission’s projects and programmes,” as well as “draw up and adopt projects and programmes funding templates.”

Speaking on the setting for the retreat, the NDDC Managing Director said “Uyo was chosen because we perceive Akwa Ibom State as a window of development in the Niger Delta region.”

Meanwhile, the Commission, according to available statistics, has delivered over 15,469 projects across the Niger Delta region, handled over 60 percent capital projects covering roads, electricity and water supply as well as the execution of over 3,000 rural projects including rural electrification and water projects.

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