The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it is in talk with global consultants to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on its corporate governance structure.

Its Executive Director, Projects, Mr Charles Ogunmola, said this in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the Oil Technology Conference (OTC), which ended on May 6 in Houston Texas, US.

‘‘We are currently in talks with PwC, KPMG and Deloitte for one of them to come in and establish our corporate governance structure. With this, we will be able to operate like any other world class organisation, where everything is run with probity and guided with the best in practice rules of governance.

“This should start the journey of our corporate governance renewal and that is ongoing at the moment. We hope to establish a MoU within the next 30 to 60 days.

Going forward, Ogunmola said that every project request must be business case based, adding that before now, the commission’s state offices used to be restricted to inspection.

He said NDDC officials would now be stationed at local government level, while equirements from the community must come from within.

According to him, everyone in the community must be involved, including youths, leaders and local pressure groups.

‘‘So, when the decision comes out, it will be a collective decision that no one in the community can deny.

“The local community must now come up with a need assessment which must be signed off by the community leaders.

“It is the people in the community that will execute such projects,’’ Ogunmola said.

Prior to now, he said only NDDC workers monitored projects, but going forward, the commission would involve independent organisations that would do such.

According to him, the firms are not just stationed in one location but move across states to monitor projects.

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‘‘But an organisation would not just stay in one location. For instance, if an organisation monitors a project in Abia, today, the next project monitoring will be in Rivers or Akwa Ibom.

“So by that, it becomes difficult for the independent assessor to establish a relationship with any contractor.

“And that helps the commission to get an objective view and status about such a project from our internal workers who are very competent and external umpire,” Ogunmola explained

He said that the commission now has an advisory board for its budgeting process and must see that state governors, National Assembly, traditional rulers, youth and pressure groups sign off on a project before the implementation begins.

‘‘So, at the end of the day, when a project comes out, nobody can feign ignorance that they are not part of the process,” he added.

Ogunmola said every project must have an outcome framework where all boxes related to the project must be ticked by the contractor handling such project.

He explained that a situation where roads are built without drainages, sidewalks, culverts and streetlights would no longer be acceptable to the commission.

‘‘The era where a contractor just comes with a certificate of job completion to be signed off without meeting the requirements of project outcome will now be a thing of the past.

“The commission has developed a strategy to attract additional sources in line with the Act setting up the commission.

The executive director said the commission was exploring global funding and Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement in addition to its traditional sources.

Ogunmola identified the traditional funding to include; three per cent oil company budget, 15 per cent FAAC allocation and 50 per cent ecological fund.

To attract some of these funding options, he said the operations of the commission must be open and not opaque, hence the decision to hire one of the best international consulting firms to help it set up its corporate governance structure.