NDDC plans N1.9trn budget for 2024

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has proposed a budget of N1.911 trillion for 2024, up from the N876 billion the development agency budgeted in 2023.

About N1tn of the total estimates will be sourced through borrowings from development and commercial banks, according to documents the commission presented to the Senate Committee on NDDC in Abuja on Monday.

Other revenue windows are Federal Government (N324.8bn); Oil Companies (N375bn); Arrears and Recoveries by FG Agencies (N170bn); Ecological Fund (N25bn); Revenue Brought Forward (12bn); and Internally Realised Income (N5bn).

The Chairman of the Board of the NDDC, Chiedu Ebie, and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, led other members of the commission before the Senate committee to defend the proposals on Monday.

Addressing the session, which was chaired by Sen. Asuquo Ekpenyong, the MD, Ogbuku, said the commission planned to give adequate attention to the completion of ongoing “legacy projects,”  using the bulk of the N1tn revenue to be outsourced from development and commercial banks.

He noted, “Emphasising public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects on regional roads to enhance transportation and other sectors.

“This marks a critical step towards diversifying our source of funding, as we intend to source an aggregate sum of N1tn to fund ongoing legacy projects of the commission in 2024.

“The sum is to be outsourced from the development/commercial banks, etc.”

The document also shows that other development projects of the commission will gulp over N835.2bn, besides its “internal capital” of N8.7bn, bringing the NDDC’s total capital proposals for N2024 to about N1.8tn.

Ogbuku added that the commission would spend N38.5bn on personnel costs and N29.2bn on overhead.

Senators, while the meeting was in open session, asked questions about the debt profile of the commission and how the new management intended to settle it, especially outstanding liabilities to contractors.

Responding, the MD told the lawmakers that the NDDC budgeted N100bn for debt settlement in 2024 as the first tranche of its plan to gradually pay the debts over 10 years.

Although Ogbuku did not give the exact figure of the debt profile, he informed senators that the commission would budget at least N100bn every year for the next 10 years to clear the debts, an indication that the NDDC’s indebtedness could be another N1tn.

However, senators commended the new management for some of its initiatives in the education sector and the proposal to build 1,000 camps for the people of the Niger Delta to serve as temporary shelters during emergencies such as flooding.

For instance, a former Governor of Abia State, Sen. Orji Kalu, said the commission’s overseas training programmes for the youths of the region could lead to gainful employment and help to reduce restiveness.

The committee chairman, while commending the management for presenting one of the well-coordinated budgets of the commission in recent years, advised Ogbuku to ensure that the 2025 proposals reached the National Assembly by December 2024.

The meeting later went into a closed-door session.

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Source:

Tribune Online