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The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has called for cooperation and understanding from its contractors in its efforts to address the challenges of accumulated debts owed on executed projects of the Commission.
According to Ibitoye Abosede, Ph.D, Director, Corporate Affairs, Speaking during an interactive session with the contractors at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, described the contractors as partners in the development of the Niger Delta region.
Ogbuku expressed sympathy with the contractors for enduring many challenges on account of being owed by the Commission. He regretted that it was impossible for the current NDDC Board to offset the inherited debts within a short period.
He said: “You are our partners in the development process. It is a sad situation that we are facing. As partners in the development of the Niger Delta region, we need your cooperation.”
Ogbuku apologized to the contractors for the shortcomings of the NDDC and called for a minute silence for contractors who lost their lives while waiting to be paid.
He assured the contractors that henceforth, they would not be neglected, stating that the Commission had initiated a Public, Privat Partnership, PPP, arrangement to help it raise funds to execute NDDC projects. “We have to find a way to address the funding challenges that has led to the debts to the contractors,” he said.
The Managing Director said that the meeting with the contractors would be periodic as one of the measures meant to address the debt burden on the NDDC.
Speaking further, he said that the Commission had set up a Committee to streamline the payment of the outstanding debts. He warned the contractors against going through middlemen who may be claiming to be working on be behalf of the executive management.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Mr. Charles Ogunmola, assured that the new leadership was ready to make a difference to bring changes in the Niger Delta region.
He declared: “We are at a new dawn at the NDDC. We need to collaborate to do things the right way and we want to see you as partners in the development of the Niger Delta region.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NDDC Contractors Association, Mr. Joe Adia, commended the NDDC for hosting the event, but noted that contractors were “eager to hear when the payment of the debts will commence”
He observed that the meeting was long overdue, noting that contractors were concerned about the delayed payments. He called for synergy between the NDDC and its contractors.
Adia said the contractor’s association was in a position to assist the Commission to get its outstanding funds from the oil companies.