By Jonathan Ugbal, Government House Correspondent
The board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC has been advised to jettison the idea of government having no business in doing business as it is unsustainable.
This advice was given by Cross River State governor Benedict Ayade when he received the board of the commission led by the chairman Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw in his office in Calabar where he laid bare his mind on the challenges faced by the commission earlier enumerated by the chairman.
Citing the Chinese model, he urged them to have a rethink on infrastructure development as investment based models is a better option. His words “If we took our time to look at how much came into the NDDC to date and if we have focused on revenue generation, focused on investment driven kind of models, you will have seen that we would no longer be depending on government.”
He suggested a rethink on the organizational structure which seems to give less inclusion in decision making to state representatives and reminded the commission that in spite of the sharing formula, they still had a moral obligation to poor states “The people of Cross River feel strongly shortchanged because of the circumstances that befell us for no fault of ours and I thought that we would have had a particularly different classification”.
The Chairman NDDC Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw earlier in his remarks said the current board at its swearing in on December 16, 2013 inherited over 7,000 projects which they have strived to complete but are restrained by funds because of the inability of the federal government to comply with section 14, sub section 2 A and C of the commission act which has led to a deficit of over 845billion in funds allocation to the commission.
The chairman also disclosed some of their achievements in office to include hundreds of scholarships in science overseas for students from the region, hundreds of kilometers of road and in Cross River to include two hostel accommodations with one located in each of the University’s in the state with the hope of building the specialist hospital in Ikom, completing the Adiabo bridge project and dualisation of the Calabar-Itu-Aba highway.
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