Thursday, October 19, 2017

NDDC Pledges to Fight Poverty in Niger Delta

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has pledged to support the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, in fighting poverty, especially in the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, made the promise when the Special Adviser to the President and head of NSIP, Mrs Maryam Uwais and other members of her team, paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

Also on hand to receive the NSIP delegation were the NDDC Executive Director Projects, Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, some Board members and directors of the Commission.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer commended the Federal Government’s initiative in the social investment programmes, stressing that the Commission would support NSIP in monitoring and working to fight poverty in the Niger Delta.

He said: “Poverty knows no political affiliation or religious inclination. I am happy that NSIP is fighting poverty and striving to give hope to the poorest of the poor, who arguably, could be found more in the Niger Delta that produces the wealth of the nation.”

Ekere said that since coming on board, the present board and management had made efforts to return the NDDC to its core mandate, stating that the Commission has as much as 8,000 projects that are currently on-going. 
He said that the NDDC had since adopted a 4-R strategy to redefine its processes. According to him, the new initiative entails: “Restructuring the balance sheet; Reforming the governance systems to ensure that as an organization, NDDC complies with extant rules and regulations; Restoring the core mandate of the Commission and Reaffirming commitment to doing what’s right and proper at all times.” 

He noted: “Over the years NDDC has done a lot in infrastructure. We also want to build human capital and that is where we connect with your mandate to fight poverty. We have signed collaborations that will help us to achieve this. We just recently signed a collaboration with NEXIM Bank. Now that the value of crude oil is waning, we want to create an export initiative in the agricultural sector to create jobs and help the nation's economy.”

Ekere said that the Commission was also partnering with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the Niger Delta as well as train women to run sustainable businesses. 

Speaking earlier, the head of the NSIP, Mrs Uwais called for the support of the NDDC in the area of funding to ensure that the four social investment programmes got to as many people as possible.

The Special Adviser gave details of the investments programmes, stating that N-Power, which was the job programme for unemployed graduates was the largest spending item out of the four. She said the others are: “Home Grown School Feeding (HGSFP); Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP).”

Mrs Uwais said that every state and local government area, including the FCT had beneficiaries in one of the four programmes, while some states were already benefiting in more than one. She noted that the N-Power job scheme for unemployed graduates was now running in 36 states, adding that 200,000 unemployed graduates were effectively enrolled and validated last year and cleared to be receiving the N30, 000 monthly stipends.

The NSIP boss said that the Federal Government was working to ensure that more Nigerians benefit from the Programmes, adding that the portal for the engagement of beneficiaries would soon be opened for a period of six weeks.

Uwais observed that the number of beneficiaries are expected to increase to about 400,000 in a couple of months. She said that the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme designed for the empowerment of market women, traders and artisans had recorded good progress with the disbursement of interest free loans.




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