SENATE, yesterday, considered the
bill for an act to amend the Niger Delta
Development Commission, NDDC, “so
as to remove obvious impediments,
particularly in the area of funding and
reposition the commission to carry out its
mandate effectively”.
This was sequel to the adoption of a
report on the bill by the Senate Committee
on Niger Delta chaired by Senator Peter
Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North) and 18
other members.
The bill was read for the first time on
July 26, while senators deliberated on its
general principles on July 27, thereafter
read it for the second time and referred
it to the committee for further legislative
action.
Presenting the report, Senator
Nwaoboshi said “the main objective of
the bill is to clarify certain provisions
in the Principal Act and to provide for
prompt remittance of funds due to the
Niger Delta Development Commission,
as well as penalties for delay or default”.
The Senate maintained that in order
to reposition the NDDC for effective
service to the region, the committee said
it has become necessary to review the
Principal Act in order to rid its provisions
of ambiguities.
It explained that with the clarification of
some provisions in the bill, representation
on the board of the NDDC will henceforth
be clearly defined, adding that the
financial burden of the commission would
be reduced with the provision of new
subsections to ensure prompt remittances.
The Upper House noted that “with
the strengthening of some provisions,
the contributors that failed to fulfil their
statutory obligation will be made to do
so”.
It added that “it is imperative to
amend the Niger Delta Development
Commission (Establishment etc) Act 2000,
so as to remove obvious impediments,
particularly in the area of funding and to
reposition the commission to carry out its
mandate effectively.”
The Senate observed that the NDDC Act,
2000 has been in operation for 17 years
and has never been reviewed, adding that
the amendment is in consonance with the
observations of senators while considering
the confirmation of presidential nominees
for the Governing Board of the NDDC
and debate on the general principles of
the bill.
It added that “as a result of weaknesses
of certain provisions and gaps in the
Principal Act, some of the contributors
have not paid anything to the fund of
the commission till date, while others are
underpaying by not declaring their total
annual budget to the commission”.
According to the report, “this lack
of payment by some contributors and
underpayment by others has led to
huge debts owed contractors by the
commission”.
The Senate had on October 11, 2016
while considering the request of President
Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation
of chairman and members of the NDDC
Board discovered that some of the
provisions in the Act are ambiguous.
Consequently, the Upper House
mandated the committee to carry out a
review of the Niger Delta Development
Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act,
2000.

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