The Niger Delta Development Commission has appealed to President Bola Tinubu-led administration to remove the commission from Treasury Single Account financial framework for maximum performance and efficiency.
It said though it recognises the importance of the principles enshrined in the TSA policy such as transparency and accountability, however, such a financial framework has weighty limitations for the interventionist agency.
The Managing Director, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, disclosed this while speaking at the commission’s board and management retreat with the theme, ‘Renewed Hope: A New Era for Vitality, Peace and Development,’ in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State on Friday.
He said operating under the TSA framework may limit the commission’s financial autonomy and hinder it from quickly adapting to emerging needs or unforeseen circumstances as well as limiting its flexibility in resource allocation.
Ogbuku said that “to truly deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda, we need to remove funding impediments. We advocate the removal of the NDDC from operating under the TSA framework due to the commission’s unique characteristics and the potential benefits of increased autonomy in financial management.”
He added, “The TSA framework may limit the NDDC’s financial autonomy, as all funds must pass through a centralised account, potentially affecting the speed of financial decision-making in response to regional development needs.
“The rigid budgetary discipline enforced by TSA may hinder the NDDC’s ability to quickly adapt to emerging needs or unforeseen circumstances, limiting its flexibility in resource allocation.
“While we embrace the TSA’s transparency goals, its centralised control has undoubtedly created hurdles, particularly in maintaining project pace. The limited construction window further compounds these challenges.”
Speaking while declaring the retreat open, the Ministerbof Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh, while acknowledging the roles being played by NDDC in fostering development in the region, charged the commission to faithfully implement the recommendations of the report of the forensic audit in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President.
He urged the board and management to make meaningful headway in charting a roadmap for sustainable development of the region while also drawing the attention of the board to the need to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of all contracts to ensure compliance with the scope and other details
Momoh said, “As you are all aware, the Forensic Audit has been concluded and its report submitted to the Government. While the white paper on the report of the forensic audit is being awaited, some of its recommendations, are being implemented; an example is the constitution of a new board for the commission
“The tasks before this new board shall include a faithful implementation of the recommendations of the report of the forensic audit, in line with the President’s Renewed Hope agenda
“I want to remind us that if we must make any headway in charting the desired roadmap for sustainable development of the region, all hands must be on deck, with every courage it deserves, to tackle those factors that have constituted a clog in the wheel of development programmes and policies in the region.”
“It is expedient that I draw your attention to the need to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of all contracts to ensure compliance with the scope and other details,” Momoh added.
The chairman, NDDC board, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, said that the gathering was a reflection of President Bola Tinubu’s desire to have the Niger Delta transformed into a zone of peace and development.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, who was represented by his deputy, Akon Ayakenyi, called for effective collaboration between the state and NDDC to enable it to achieve its mandates of sustainable development in the region.
The TSA, a Federal Government policy that requires all government revenue to be deposited into a single account, was introduced in 2015 to improve transparency and accountability in government finances.
In October 2023, President Bola Tinubu pulled the Federal Capital Territory Administration out of the TSA.
This move was expected to pave the way for enhanced progress and growth of the FCTA under the leadership of Nyesom Wike and give him more control over finances.
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