The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is appealing to the administration under President Bola Tinubu, urging a reconsideration of its inclusion in the Treasury Single Account financial framework for the sake of maximizing performance and efficiency.
Though fully aware of the virtues embedded in the TSA policy, such as transparency and accountability, the entity highlights the substantial drawbacks that a financial framework of this nature imposes on the interventionist agency.
Speaking at the commission’s board and management retreat themed ‘Renewed Hope: A New Era for Vitality, Peace and Development’ in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director of NDDC, shared this revelation.
He pointed out that adherence to the TSA framework might curtail the commission’s financial autonomy, impeding swift responses to emerging needs or unforeseen circumstances and constraining 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.”
In his address at the opening of the retreat, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh, recognized NDDC’s developmental contributions to the region. He urged the commission to diligently execute the recommendations from the forensic audit report, aligning with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
Dr. Ogbuku pressed the board and management to expedite the development of a concrete roadmap for achieving long-term development in the region. He further emphasized the absolute necessity of rigorous and ongoing monitoring of all contracts to ensure strict adherence to agreed-upon terms and specifications.
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.
Calling for synergy, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, represented by Deputy Governor Akon Ayakenyi, emphasized the importance of effective collaboration between the state and NDDC to fulfill the mandates of sustainable development in the region.
Enacted in 2015, the TSA is a Federal Government policy mandating the consolidation of all government revenue into a single account, with the aim of enhancing transparency and accountability in government finances.
President Bola Tinubu’s October 2023 directive resulted in the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s exit from the TSA.
The expected outcome of this move was to create a pathway for heightened progress and growth within the FCTA, offering Nyesom Wike greater financial oversight.