The Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, weekend, said the biggest challenge she was facing since assumption of office, was the fact that “we are owing so many people.” Mrs. Semenitari disclosed this on Sunday when she featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja. She said the commission owed more than 8,600 contractors between N400 billion and N450 billion when she assumed office, but about 600 of them had been paid by her administration. According to her, the paucity of funds coupled with the public perception of the commission became sources of concern for the management of NDDC. She, however, said that the commission had to deal with both challenges and reinvigorate the workforce to be able to get to its present state.
Semenitari said: “That is a lot of money. So, the first challenge was, we had so many contracts and and so much debt, so there was a big hole right there. The second was the perception problem. The commission was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a place you just come, take your own share and go. It was also perceived to be a corrupt place. And we also had to deal with the need to professionalise the workforce basically in terms of how you reposition the people. Also, we had to reinvigorate the workforce so that people would have a sense of freshness and a sense of new challenges because we can get people back on track.” She assured that better days would come for the commission by the time its funding partners paid up the amount they were owing, noting that with payment of the outstanding money, the projects the commission was handling would become visible. She added that the late passage of the budget of the commission had hampered proper planning and proper management of the commission.