Senate amends NDDC Act, Reps flay violation on board appointment
The Bill for an Act to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Act 2000 and for other matters connected therewith, was yesterday read the third time and passed by the Senate.
The Bill which was sponsored by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North, is intended to augment and strengthen the Principal Act so as to clarify certain provisions of the Act, obliterate obvious lacunas and propel the Commission towards excellent service delivery, which will in turn impact positively on the Niger Delta Region and the nation in general.
The bill is to also clarify certain provisions of the Act and to provide for prompt remittance of funds due to the Commission and penalties for delay or default.
Senate President Bukola Saraki said that with the passage of the bill, International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other stakeholders in the gas sector would now be mandated by law to remit certain amount owed to the Niger Delta region, just as he said that this would help boost the revenue base of the NDDC to carry out some projects as well as arrest youth restiveness in the region.
Nwaoboshi said: “These gas processing companies have not paid the three per cent statutory fund to it, adding, “However, Section 14 of the Act which provides for fund for the Commission has been strengthened to ensure prompt release of statutory funds to the Commission.
“There are adequate statutes to ensure proper utilization of the funds, more so, the National Assembly will definitely carry out its oversight function over the Commission, to ensure accountability in the utilization of the fund.
“Accordingly, it is imperative to amend the Niger-Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, 2000, so as to pave the way for more efficient running of the Commission.’’
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday flayed the alleged violation of the NDDC Act relating to the appointment of its board members.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Daniel Afonjo, PDP southern Ijaw Federal constituency of Bayelsa during the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Sulaimon Yussuff Lasun, the lawmakers urged the executive arm to adhere strictly to the provisions of the NDDC Act of 2000 with respect to the tenure of the current Board.
The House resolved to constitute an ad- hoc committee to investigate the matter with a view to ensuring compliance with the NDDC Act, 2000.
The proposed committee is to report back within two weeks for further legislative action.
Afonjo faulted the decision to grant the Board members a fresh tenure of four years, rather than them serving out the unexpired tenure of the dissolved Board.
Calling on the House to wade into the matter, he warned that there is a nexus between the violation of the NDDC Act and youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region which has such grave consequences of impacting adversely on oil production and consequently, the nation’s revenues from the resource.
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