L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Dr. Babayo Ardo and Director Planning, Research and Statistics MNDA, Mr. Alfred .A. Abah, the Chairman of the Harmonization Committee, during the inauguration of the Committee.
By Ignatius Ushie
As part of the renewed efforts by the present administration to intensify and improve on development in the country and the Niger Delta Region in particular, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) has constituted a committee to coordinate the harmonization of the various Operational Development Plans in the region into a single coherent Regional Development Strategy. This was contained in a Press Statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja.
The Minster of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) Sen.Godswil Akpabio who was represented by the Permanent Secretary (PS) Dr. Babayo Ardo, officially inaugurated the committee in Abuja.
Babayo explained that the committee become imperative considering President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Concern and interest to bridge the huge gaps between resources invested in the region Vis a Vis the infrastructural human and economic development recorded over the years in the area. The president therefore charged the Ministry on the harmonization of the development plans.
According to him, “the two major plans developed with the assistance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the Ministry in coordinating development and implementation some years ago includes the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Regional Development Master Plan and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Niger Delta Action Plan.
“Successive efforts by other stakeholders in the region also led to the initiation of other existing development plans. Therefore the multiplicity of plans, absence of standardization and failure to manage the plans led to poor delivery of those plans and their expected outcomes”.
“In actualizing the Presidential directives an initial study of the existing plans was carried out by a consultant engaged by the Ministry. This process produced a strategic document for the development of a united single plan for the region, which would be adopted as a working document for the committee”, he said.
While urging the committee to take the assignment very serious, he outlined the terms of reference (TOR) for the committee among others to include, reviewing the initiating framework for the Harmonization of the Development plans in the Niger Delta Region into a single coherent Regional Development Strategy.
- Alfred A. Abah, the Director Planning, Research and Statistics, (MNDA), will chair the committee, which is expected to enhance government efforts to achieve the desired development in the region. Membership of the committee is drawn from the Ministry and NDDC.
Chairman of the Harmonization committee Mr. Alfred A. Abah in his reaction, while soliciting for the support of the Ministry and NDDC assured the Permanent Secretary that the committee does not have any reason to fail. He said the committee would start by setting out a work plan and time line, which will produce the desired result and would not hesitate to co-opt any of the directorates when the need arises.