The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has restated its readiness to collaborate with development partners towards realizing the its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) objectives, in order to fast-track development in Niger Delta.
This was made known at a courtesy visit by a delegation from the Nigeria AGIP Oil Company to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Managing Director, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, harped on the importance of sustainable partnerships geared towards enhancing development initiatives. He also said that the Commission has begun to enjoy a robust relationship with other International Oil Companies.
He disclosed that the Commission has also agreed on a more mutually beneficial relationship with the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, at a recent interaction in Lagos.
“We reached out to the OPTS and we agreed on normalizing our relationship. We are open to partnerships and collaboration. In the past, the NDDC was not siting projects in the host communities of OPTS members. We want to ensure that whatever the IOCs contributes is reflected in their host communities through NDDC projects”, he said.
He also assured all present that NDDC will pay more attention to infrastructural development especially in the areas of operations of the IOCs.
“We are looking at regional projects that will help to open the Niger Delta region. What we want is development of the region to curb criminality”, he said.
He underscored the importance of some of the regional projects which he noted would benefit AGIP in its operations. These, he said, included but not limited to the East West Road Junction-Sampou-Odoni-Osekwenike-Elemebiri Road in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He noted that the road would link Bayelsa to Rivers and Delta States.
He further stated that the NDDC plans to establish a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce which would drive the empowerment of youths in the Niger Delta region through entrepreneurship.
He explained, “We are putting the structures for youth empowerment. We plan to setup a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce which will enhance the sustainability of our youths empowerment through entrepreneurship schemes. We are also going to build a database of youths in the Niger Delta region to help the Commission offer sustainable training for our youths.”
He pledged that the Commission will partner with the AGIP Oil Company on programmes that will be a win-win for all stakeholders, stating: ” We want to drive the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region through our Public-Private Partnership initiative.
On his part, the General Manager District, Nigeria AGIP Oil Company, Mr. Giordano Crema iscommended the NDDC for its role in the development of the Niger Delta region, stating that the region was one of the core assets of the Nigerian economy.
He however regretted what he described as a lack of synergy between the IOCs operating in the Niger Delta region and the Commission, as not many NDDC projects were not being executed in the oil-producing communities, in spite of the contributions of the oil companies to the funding of the NDDC.
“We are eager to work with the NDDC. We seek for collaboration with the NDDC. Our collaboration with the NDDC is very important because it affects our host communities”, he stated.