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June 10, 2024

Six months to end of year: NDDC proposes N1.911 trillion as 2024 budget

Six months to end of year: NDDC proposes N1.911 trillion as 2024 budget

NDDC

.. Sets aside N100 billion to commence the settling of debts, says debts are 20 years 

...To fund legacy projects funded through borrowing of N1trn

… Next year’s budget must be sent early to meet January to December budget cycle, Senate to NDDC

By Henry Umoru, Abuja

Six months to the end of the fiscal year, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has proposed a total sum of N1.911 trillion as its 2024 aggregate expenditure, just as it disclosed that it was working towards the completion of some ongoing projects in line with President Bola Tinubu’s directive.

Presenting the NDDC aggregate expenditure of N1.911 trillion, tagged “Budget of Renewed Hope Agenda,” before the Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South-led Senate Committee on NDDC, the Managing Director, CEO of the interventionist agency, Samuel Ogbuku, said that the proposed revenue brought forward stands at 12,000,000,000; arrears owned by the Federal Government and recoveries by Federal Government Agencies are N170,000,000,000; and borrowings are N1,000,000,000:000.

Further breakdown by Ogbuku shows that part of the proposed revenue will be Federal Government Contribution, which is put at N324,800,000,000; Ecological Fund is N25,000,000,000; Oil Companies Contributions will be N375,000,000,000; and Internally Realized Income is N5,000,000,000.

Giving a breakdown of the agency’s proposed expenditures, the Managing Director said that personnel is 38,545,349,193; overhead is N29,246,506,753; internal capital is put at 8.785, 4,31; legacy projects funded through borrowing are 1,000,000,000; and Projects (development) are N835,227,569,924.

The Managing Director told the Senators that his administration was committed to payment of legacy debts because they are for  the welfare of the people in the Niger Delta, and for this, N100 billion has been earmarked to begin payment of legacy debts, adding that in 10 years, the commission would have offset the legacy debts.

Ogbuku said, “In order to also manage our indebtedness, because our indebtedness is not only towards paying contractors, it also gives us credibility in the budget due to the partnerships we tend going into. For the purpose of compliance, international organizations, they want to see your process of repayment of your debt.

“It is based on that we made a provision for payment of legacy debt in the budget. What we have there is about a hundred billion, which we believe if we phase out this, maybe in the next 10 years, we should have been able to pay off most of all these legacy debts. Some of these debts are even 20 years old.

Some of them are 15 years old, but they are not debts you can pay in one year. So we just want to face them within a period of may be 10 years. That’s why we made that estimate provision.

“But I think we are here before you. Appropriation is in your hands. It is left for you and us to agree. If that is enough or if it is too much, we can all manage it together. But we can all work together to ensure that our indebtedness is reduced and it is well managed.

“We are sure, you saw, we are very, very committed in repayment of our debts. Because most of the people that did these jobs are people from the region. So we cannot also have a commission that also want to increase our people, but the commission should rather be able to bring happiness, joy to the people of the Niger Delta, and we are committed to that.”

On the performance of 2023 budget, Ogbuku said, “an aggregate revenue of 876 billion naira was projected to fund the 2023 Budget “Budget of Rewind to Rebirth. This comprises overhead costs of N17.4 billion, personnel cost of N134.2, internal capital costs of N83.7 billion, and capital costs of N820.5 billion.

“As of April 30th, 2024, the Commission’s actual aggregate revenue inflow was N683.2 billion Naira, approximately 78 percent of the targeted N876 billion Naira. This comprises N146.4 billion representing (122%) from the Federal Government and N394.5 billion (141%) from oil & gas companies. We had a cary forward of N105 billion from 2023, representing 2117%. 

“Despite the challenges, we continue to meet our obligations. Please find attached to our submission the Budget Performance Report and Budget Implementation Report, with detailed payments, percentage of work done, and jobs awarded during the period.”

Speaking further on the 2024 Budget, he said, “In the area of infrastructure, we came up with * Operation Light Up Niger Delta Region”; this has seen a reasonable number of the communities being lit up using solar-powered street lights, which have boosted the economic activities of communities at night.

“in response to the frequent flooding challenges faced by Niger Deltans. We have commenced construction of Multipurpose Emergency Shelter with a capacity of over 1000 accommodations, designed to serve as a refuge during flood emergencies. The facility includes essential amenities such as a school, hospital, cafeteria, police post, and recreation centre, aimed at providing comprehensive support to the community. 

“The budget being presented today is a product of participatory budgeting process that involves vanous stakeholders within and outside the region. It is the foundation upon which we shall erect the future of the Niger Delta Region. The budget is going to be funded through statutory provision and borrowings to curb the inflation rate and ensure that quality projects are delivered to the Region on time. 

“The proposed budget seeks to move the Commission from transaction to transformation, and it ig a product of participatory budgeting process that involves all the major stakeholders in the Niger Delta Region with the theme “Budget of Renewed Hope Agenda.” 

“In preparing the 2024 budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. An aggregate expenditure of N1.911 trillion is proposed for the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2024 on assumptions of revenue as follows: 

“Accordingly, to this end, we are in partnership with the Industrial Training Fund to gainfully engage the youth of the region to reduce crime, economic sabotage, and also with the Niger Deka Chamber of Commerce, Trade, Mines, and Agriculture (NDCCTIMA). Several organisations and state governments have approached the Commission for partnerships, and we are currently engaging them to fine-tune the process. 

“The main emphasis will be the completion of as many ongoing legacy projects that have advanced greatly. It is our expectation that by the end of the 2024 fiscal year we would have completed more than 200km of roads across the NDR, as we understand that our people have different expectations on the budget of NDDC and they believe the Commission will respond to all their demands. However, the reality is that resources are limited and no Budget can ever meet and satisfy the yearnings of each and every member of the rural communities. We can only devote our efforts to providing support for the needs of the greater number of our people. 

“Our fiscal reforms shall introduce new performance management frameworks to regulate the overhead costs. Accordingly, only activities that are tied to measurable programmes will be approved. We have moved away from the previously line item budgeting system to sectoral allocation of funds to encourage performance, and we are confident that this will shore up productivity.”

In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ekpenyong, warned against late submission of the budget of the NDDC, saying that next year’s budget must be sent early to meet  January  to December budget cycle, noting that although the budget was brought late, the NDDC has recorded salient achievements like ‘light up Niger Delta’.

He said, “I hope that the 2024 budget will consolidate on already existing projects. I commend the NDDC’s scholarship programme.”

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