IOCs owe NDDC $4bn, agency debt to contractors, N3tn – FG

THE PUNCH Newspaper

• N600bn emergency contracts not implemented

The Federal Government has commenced the process of recovering $4bn owed the Niger Delta Development Commission by International Oil Companies, the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, has said.

The minister said this on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team.

He added that the Federal Government had slated 2022 for the completion of the East-West Road and that the present regime had prioritised the completion of the project.

Akpabio confirmed that the forensic audit report of the NDDC had been completed and would be submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), soon.

The minister also said the commission’s debt profile to contractors stood at about N3tn, noting, however, that not all contracts awarded with costs could be regarded as debt.

According to him, over N600bn of emergency contracts that had been awarded had not been implemented and cannot be considered as NDDC debt.

“All the international oil companies are owing and efforts are ongoing to recoup the money,” he said.

However, Akpabio declined to provide details before the submission of the forensic report to the president.

Speaking on the completion of the East-West Road which was started in 2005, Akpabio said in the 2021 appropriation, the NDDC diverted N10bn from other projects to execute the East-West Road due to its critical importance to the people of the region.

He said N7bn had so far been released out of the N10bn, adding that over N75bn would be required to complete Lots 1-4 of the road project.

The former governor also revealed that he had written to the president to include the project in Sukuk Fund so it could be commissioned during the current regime.

In 2019 and 2020, Akpabio had disclosed that N11bn and N4bn were released to fund the project.

Akpabio listed other projects executed by the ministry since he assumed office as minister to include 18 inter-state roads, 109 intra-city roads and about 500,000 units of houses.

He pegged the debt profile of NDDC at N3tn, regretting that no significant project executed by the commission matched the figure.

He explained that the commissioning of the forensic audit was an attempt to unearth what the huge sum of money given to the NDDC had been utilised for.

Akpabio said the Federal Government would use the forensic audit report to correct all the ills of the past in the Niger Delta region.

He said, “I haven’t seen any major thing that has touched the lives of the people in the region done by the NDDC. We are still searching for the project they have done. The money given to the NDDC has not been utilised well.

“The major agent of intervention, the NDDC, failed. That has been the problem.”

He added, “NDDC is still owed over $4bn by all the International Oil companies as part of their three per cent contribution to NDDC.

“The Federal Government is also owing the NDDC but there are plans to work out plans to recover these monies.”

Speaking on the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act, Akpabio thanked Buhari for his commitment to developing the Niger Delta region.
He said it was the first time that host communities would be getting a percentage of the profits made from oil production.


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