World Bank Officials with NDDC officials

A States Employment and Expenditure for Results Project, SEEFOR, valued at 280 million Dollars or N102 Billion Naira is being sponsored by the World Bank, the European Union and the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

Mr Parminder Brar, the Team Leader for the project disclosed this when he led a delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office on a courtesy visit to the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Managing Director was joined by the Executive Director of Projects, Engr. Dr Samuel Adjogbe and other key directors to receive the World Bank team.

Mr Parminder Brar of World Bank

Giving details of the project to the NDDC officers, Mr Brar explained that the SEEFOR project comprised 65 per cent funding from the World Bank and 35 per cent from the European Union. According to him, the biggest beneficiary of the project was the Rivers State Government with an allocation of 80 million dollars.

Brar affirmed that NDDC also got allocations for two specific activities, noting that the World Bank was happy to collaborate with the Commission and support its development programmes. He remarked: “We can confirm that we will be able to support those activities and as soon as we finalize the budget, we will get implementation underway. We want to get started latest by February 2019 and get them completed as soon as possible.”

The World Bank Chief declared: “I am glad that the NDDC has been involved in the repair of roads. I think a lot of good works have happened and the World Bank is happy to partner with NDDC.

“We were in Port Harcourt a few months ago and we had the opportunity to travel around the entire Niger Delta region. Wherever I went, I saw notice boards from the Presidency and NDDC. I think a lot of good work has happened in the region.”

The NDDC Managing Director said that the Commission had left its footprints all over the region by successfully intervening in different areas of life of the people. He stated that he was not surprised that these projects have caught the attention of the World Bank team.

Ekere commended the World Bank for collaborating with the NDDC to improve the governance system through the SEEFOR project.

World Bank & European Union Sponsored

He said: “This project is a critical part of our 4-R reform plan for the NDDC. Our plan is to restructure the balance sheet of the Commission by reducing our liabilities; to reform our governance systems using technologies and best practice; to restore our core mandate by revalidation the Niger Delta regional development master plan and to generally reaffirm the commitment of staff, management board and stakeholders to doing what is right and proper.”

Ekere said that restructuring the balance sheet was a big task that the Commission had already embarked upon with the cancellation of over 200-billion-naira worth of non-performing contracts in the last one and half years.

He stated: “In order to advance to the next stage, we need to be more methodical and review the actual performance of these projects against the design requirements and compare these against actual funds paid out to contractors.

“The identification of this performance gap is a core deliverable expected from the NDDC-World Bank SEEFOR project, using the grant that you have graciously approved and I must thank the World Bank group for this approval.”

Ekere expressed optimism that the diligent and collaborative execution of these projects would doubtlessly improve the integrity of the commission’s project management systems, reduce our balance sheet, free funds for more pressing needs and become a model for other public agencies in the country and indeed Africa at large.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer stated that the Niger Delta Development Bank was one of the core projects which the board and management would like to see crystalized. He said that the bank would provide low-cost funding for social impact programmes, micro small and medium-term enterprises, and big-ticket projects in the region.

Ekere said: “We have already proceeded to appoint a project coordinator to prepare the bank for take-off in 2019. The support of the World Bank will be greatly appreciated in providing backing, technical and otherwise to the project team.”

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