World Bank Collaborates With NDDC on N102 Billion Project

The World Bank and the European Union, EU are collaborating with the Niger
Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to execute a States Employment and
Expenditure for Results Project, SEEFOR, valued at 280 million Dollars or
102 billion Naira.
This was made known by the Team Leader for the project, Mr. Parminder Brar,
when a delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office paid a courtesy visit
to the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, at the Commission’s
headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The NDDC Managing Director was joined by the Executive Director Projects,
Engr. Dr Samuel Adjogbe and other key directors to receive the World Bank
team.
The World Bank envoy, Mr. Brar explained that the SEEFOR project comprised
65 per cent funding from the World Bank and 35 per cent from the European
Union. According to him, the biggest beneficiary of the project was the
Rivers State Government with an allocation of 80 million dollars.
Brar affirmed that NDDC also got allocations for two specific activities,
noting that the World Bank was happy to collaborate with Commission and
support its development programmes. He remarked: “We can confirm that we
will be able to support those activities and as soon as we finalize the
budget, we will get implementation underway. We want to get started latest
by February 2019 and get them completed as soon as possible.”
The World Bank Chief declared: “I am glad that the NDDC has been involved
in the repair of roads. I think a lot of good works have happened and the
World Bank is happy to partner with NDDC.
“We were in Port Harcourt a few months ago and we had the opportunity to
travel round the entire Niger Delta region. Wherever I went, I saw notice
boards from the Presidency and NDDC. I think a lot of good work has
happened in the region.”
The NDDC Managing Director said that the Commission had been doing a whole
lot to intervene in the Niger Delta region in different areas which must
have caught the attention of the World Bank team.
Ekere commended the World Bank for collaborating with the NDDC to improve
the governance system through the SEEFOR project.
He said: “This project is a critical part of our 4-R reform plan for the
NDDC. Our plan is to restructure the balance sheet of the Commission by
reducing our liabilities; to reform our governance systems using
technologies and best practice; to restore our core mandate by revalidation
the Niger delta regional development master plan and to generally reaffirm
the commitment of staff, management board and stakeholders to doing what is
right and proper.”
Ekere said that restructuring the balance sheet was a big task that the
Commission had already embarked upon with the cancelation of over
200-billion-naira worth of non-performing contracts in the last one and
half years.
He stated: “In order to advance to the next stage, we need to be more
methodical and review the actual performance of these projects against the
design requirements and compare these against actual funds paid out to
contractors.
“The identification of this performance gap is a core deliverable expected
from the NDDC-World Bank SEEFOR project, using the grant that you have
graciously approved and I must thank the World Bank group for this
approval.”
Ekere expressed optimism that the diligent and collaborative execution of
these projects would doubtlessly improve the integrity of the commission’s
project management systems, reduce our balance sheet, free funds for more
pressing needs and become a model for other public agencies in the country
and indeed Africa at large.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer stated that the Niger Delta Development
Bank was one of the core projects which the board and management would like
to see crystalized. He said that the bank would provide low cost funding
for social impact programmes, micro small and medium term enterprises, and
big ticket projects in the region.
Ekere said: “We have already proceeded to appoint a project coordinator to
prepare the bank for take-off in 2019. The support of the World Bank will
be greatly appreciated in providing backing, technical and otherwise to the
project team.”
*Ibitoye Abosede, Ph.D*
Director, Corporate Affairs
November 29, 2018.
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