2018 BUGDET: FG ALLOCATES N71.20B TO NDDC

Federal Government said it has allocated N71.20billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the 2018 budget.

This is in addition to N53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta, which was shored up from the N34.20 billion provided in 2017.

A statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity on Sunday, indicated that it represented the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari in developing the region.

According to the Presidency, the allocations was in line with its New Vision for the Niger Delta (#NDNewVision).

He said Buhari was working hard to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from the wealth of their land.

He said so far, the Buhari administration has taken actions to underscore its commitment to the people of the region. These include:

“Increased Budgetary Allocation to Niger Delta Ministry and NDDC. Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State and commencement of Ogoni Clean-up

“Others include investments in Infrastructure: Bonny-Bodo Road and Ibaka Deep Sea Port, approval for establishment of Export Processing Zone in Delta State, approval for establishment of Modular Refineries as well as the Presidential Amnesty Programme”.

“N71.20 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission. N53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion provided in 2017

“The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff. President Muhammadu Buhari administration recently approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn.

“This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.

“Academic activities are expected to start in the University soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.

“The take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.

On the Ogoni clean up, he said in June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.

“An Inter-Ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established.

“HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of clean-up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.

“8 Companies engaged to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work. These Demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.

“HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation. HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoni land in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni following pollution of water sources in region by oil spills. Health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities.

“Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation.

Infrastructure

Investment in Ibaka Deep Sea Port:

The Federal Government has budgeted N1 billion towards the development of Ibaka seaport in Akwa Ibom.

Investment in Bonny-Bodo Road Project:

“The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.

“The Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government, in which the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG) will each bear 50 percent of the N120.6 billion that it will cost to complete the project.

“When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.

Export Processing Zone (EPZ):

“The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West local government area, Delta State.

“When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.

Modular refineries:

“The objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following: to create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attendant environmental degradation, and to provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.

“13 out of 35 applications have reached what is known as the LTC (License to Construct) stage.

“Two out of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment. Consideration for Customs duty waiver and some form of tax holiday also underway.

“Government is also working with Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF), Bank of Industry (BOI), AfrExim Bank, and Nigerian Content Development Management Board to address the issue of lack of financial capacity on the part of the local partners (Local partners are expected to come up with a minimum of 15% of cost as counterpart funding).

Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP):

“The Presidential Amnesty Programme engages ex-militants and youths from the impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.

“The 2018 budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is N65 billion.

“21,615 beneficiaries have so far been trained, out of which 4,079 have been empowered.

“PAP has empowered 4,079 ex-militants through the establishment of businesses such as agriculture (cluster farms). 3,237 ex-militants are in various stages of Vocational Training and University Scholarship Programmes.

“The Amnesty Office has initiated the training of 10,000 beneficiaries in modern agriculture and established them into 10,000-hectare cluster farms in the nine (9) Niger Delta States.

“PAP modern agricultural schemes are projected to create 80,000 new jobs in three years.”

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