COMMUNIQUE OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION PARTNERS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT [PSD] FORUM HELD ON TUESDAY 19 OF JULY 2016 IN PORT-HARCOURT THE RIVERS STATE CAPITAL, AT THE PRESIDENTIAL HOTEL
On Tuesday July 19 2016, About a hundred key development stakeholders in the Niger Delta including the nine state governments of the region, oil and gas producing companies operating in the Niger Delta as well as the federal government, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the Ministry of Niger Delta affairs and the amnesty office alongside the organised private sector, BRACED Commission International Development Agencies [IDA’S] Local Governments of Nigeria in the Niger Delta states, the civil society organisation and the Niger Delta Development Commission held its 2016 inaugural meeting at the Presidential hotel in Port Harcourt in Rivers State with the theme; Effective Collaboration in the Niger Delta Region.
The PSD forum delegates expressed appreciation for being carried along in the development of the Niger Delta Region as partners in progress, noting that it is important to work together for a better and more developed region in the country. Participants say it is time to become frugal in spending government funds.
The forum therefore agreed in a communique on the following actions:
The various stakeholders and communities in the Niger Delta must seek and develop new partners while strengthening and improving relations with the existing ones for its development in the areas of human capital and infrastructure. Conference also urged stakeholders to set up an economic and social development fund to finance the master plan as well as service infrastructural and social development across the region. The need to look beyond oil and gas for sustainable development of the region was unanimously embraced by participants.
Forum stated that the conferences has been held in the past but none produced the desired solutions to the problems plaguing the region, while noting that the reality of a lopsided state structure has not changed with the continuous challenges of environmental degradation of lands and waterways and agreed that the necessary will desired for positive development shall be exercised as a priority by all stakeholders.
It was agreed by all parties present that there will be communication, synergy and effective collaboration by all sectors – public and private, federal, state and local governments and civil societies to carry out the laudable task of positively developing the region.
Forum agreed on creating a unified database of contributions of all stakeholders to eliminate duplication of projects, and positioning of relevant projects in relevant locations, it recommend an expanded Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) forum committee -1 regional and 1 per state to foster collaboration and avoid project duplication.
Restoring of trust between all stakeholders is a priority to all parties present and all participants resolved forthwith to create and restore transparent and accountability systems from cradle to grave of projects conceived, awarded and executed including the M & E techniques to ensure the projects conform to specifications.
All parties agreed to prioritise training beyond formal education by equipping the youth, women and unemployed in various skills to encourage entrepreneurship and generate employment in the region.
Forum agreed to make concerted efforts through the various agencies and government parastatals in achieving the purpose for which they were set through increased collaboration using the Partners for Sustainable Development forum.
Forum agreed to place emphasis on job creation through agriculture, SMEs, skills acquisition, revival of dormant industries in the region as well as public works; while the amnesty mandate has to be reviewed.
Development of Social Enterprise by identifying specific economic activities or ventures unique to the Niger Delta Region (NDR) in order to build sustainable manpower development.
All parties have agreed to encourage the diversification of the private sector from oil and gas to Non-oil and gas sector. Also to promote quality mentorship in the Region by all stakeholders to combat further resource engendered restiveness in the region.
Conference recommended the inclusive engagement of Young Persons and all vulnerable groups in the region and not just militant youth.
The Partners for Sustainable Development should foster a proper feedback mechanism on project management and delivery.
We commend NDDCs efforts for transparency in publishing its quarterly report and encourage all other stakeholders to do same.
Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) should be expanded to ten (10) one Regional and each per state, to foster collaboration and avoid projects duplication.
Development of social enterprise by identifying specific economic activities or ventures unique to Niger Delta Region (NDR) in other to build sustainable manpower.
Partners for Sustainable Development forum should meet periodically.