The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it is planning to establish Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) to create new jobs and stimulate economic activities in the region.
NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, made this known at an interactive session with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
He said the chamber of commerce would be used to engage entrepreneurs, who would in turn provide employment for thousands of youths in the Niger Delta.
“So, the idea of NDCC is to gather entrepreneurs in the region together under one platform, so that if we (NDDC) are supporting them, then we share the risks together.
“NDCC will provide the opportunity for businesses of members to be verified, and based on that verification, NDDC will offer support for the young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
“We know that there are lots of entrepreneurs who are very good in agriculture, among others, and so, we will ensure that NDDC is supporting the right people,” he said.
Ogbuku discarded the impression held by many that most youths of the Niger Delta were restive and had militancy traits.
“We know that most of our youths are not militants but entrepreneurs, who if properly supported will do very well for themselves.
“So, this means that entrepreneurs must come together under the NDCC platform, so that once we engage them, then they will be the one to verify members’ businesses.
“If at the end of the day, any entrepreneur that fails, then they will share the risks with NDDC, as we do not want to share money politically,” he added.
The managing director said that each entrepreneur engaged by NDDC was expected to employ at least five youths, thus creating thousands of jobs for indigent youths of the region.
Ogbuku said the commission was also looking at establishing a corporate governance system and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) module in NDDC.
According to him, setting up corporate governance will lay a solid foundation for robust development; strengthen NDDC Public-Private Partnership and align projects and programmes that meet aspirations of the people.
“We have in the past six months been engaged in building a sustainable foundation to ensure the commission runs in accordance with global best practices.
“Once there is a corporate governance system, then it means that everyone must be subjected to the processes and procedures. This is a game changer for NDDC.
“Whenever we go out seeking for partnership, one thing prospective partners and donor agencies look for is our internal control system.
“So, we want to regulate ourselves internally by establishing a corporate governance system. We are already talking with KPMG to help us establish the system,” he said.
Ogbuku said the commission was now looking toward embarking on legacy projects that would be completed and inaugurated in record time.
He said one of such projects was the 3.65 kilometre Okirika-Borokiri Road with three bridges that would connect Kolabi, Abotoru and Okpoka creeks to Port Harcourt.
According to him, the commission has concluded talks with contractors that will mobilise to site, to commence construction of the road project in a week’s time.