Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Thursday in Abuja frowned at non-remittance of funds owed the Commission by International Oil Companies (IOCs).
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Asuquo Ekpenyong (APC-Cross River South Senatorial District) expressed the reservation at an interactive session with the management of the NDDC.
“It seems as though the NDDC has a revenue issue; revenue issue in terms of the fact that IOCs and the Federal Government are not remitting what they ought to.
“When you have a situation where you have a debt profile of over a trillion naira, you are no longer talking about sustainable development.
“When you have a debt profile that high, contractors that have the capacity to deliver will run away from your contracts. We have to reverse the trend.
“It is a contravention for any IOC or any Federal Government parastatal agency to refuse to adhere to the law establishing the Commission,’’ he said.
He added that the Act of Parliament establishing the NDDC stipulated the contribution of the Federal Government and the IOCs to it for the purpose of developing the Niger Delta.
The chairman said that the committee would summon IOCs that had refused to make remittances to the Commission.
“We will nip the backward and negative trend that had been the story of the Commission over the last couple of years.
“This is for conceiving, planning and implementation of projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
“The Commission has performed creditably in certain areas, but has failed to perform in others.
“Worthy of note is its performance over the course of the 9th Assembly. I feel there was a breakdown in relationship between the Commission and the 9th Assembly.
“It is imperative at the beginning of this 10th Assembly that we start off on a good footing,’’ he said.
On his part, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku said there was the need to offset the over N1 trillion debt owed the Commission.
“We are looking at payment of N100 billion of the old debts each year so we can create a balance between payment of old debts and executing new projects,’’ he said.
Ogbuku added that the NDDC was ready to partner with the Senate for a better working relationship.
“We want to have the best working relationship because we know the National Assembly is there to complement what we are doing,’’ he said.