Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, has said the Federal Government and oil companies are yet to remit N1.5 trillion due to the commission.
Ekere said this, on Tuesday, in Abuja, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the total outstanding sum due to the NDDC between 2000 and 2018.
He said although the 15 percent of the federal government’s contribution to the NDDC between 2000 and January 2018, amount to N1.9 trillion, only N615.086 billion has been paid into the fund, with an outstanding of N1.3 trillion.
The NDDC boss said when added to the outstanding N45 billion Ecological Fund, the federal government’s total indebtedness would add up to N1.4 trillion.
Speaking on the oil companies, Ekere said between 2001 and 2018, the companies have paid only N407.9 billion, with an outstanding payment of N108.3 billion.
He said: “Since the inception of NDDC in 2000 till date, we have noticed major shortfall in what the federal government and oil companies, operating in the region, are supposed to have paid to the NDDC fund, but has not done so.
“This revenue shortfall is affecting our performance in terms of paying contractors and embarking on new projects.”
The NDDC boss alleged that Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) has refused to provide details of its full annual budget to the commission, to enable it ascertain the statutory three percent levy provided for in the NDDC Act.
Chairman of the ad-hoc panel, Ahmed Chanchangi, frowned at the non-payment of the federal government and oil companies contributions to the NDDC and said the House will not condone it.
He said: “These allegations of non-remittances and underpayments, whether by government or private corporations, cannot be treated with levity any longer. We cannot stand aloof while the entire region remains deprived as a result of clear non-compliance with existing laws,” he warned.
Earlier, while declaring the investigative hearing open, House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said the hearing was to enable the House ascertain if funds accruing to the NDDC were utilised in compliance with the provisions of the extant law.
He said there were allegations and complaints that the interventionist agency has not been living up to its mandate.
“The House is determined to verify these allegations with a view to getting all the facts to enable us make necessary resolutions that will change the trend of things in the region,” he said.