OrderPaperToday- The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed for second reading, a bill to expand the financial provisions of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).

The bill aimed at aligning the Commission’s Establishment Act 2017 with its mandate, also seeks to deepen the impact of the Commission on the lives of every resident of Member States through strategic capital development across the critical sector of the economy.

At current, the activities of the Commission cover six north-eastern states including; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe respectively.

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Sponsored by Mansur Soro (APC, Bauchi) and five others, the proposed legislation is titled ‘A Bill For An Act To Amend The North–East Development Commission Act, 2017 To Make Provisions For Enhanced Efficiency in the Operations of the North–East Development Commission and Deepen The Impact Of The Commission On The Lives Of Residents Of Member States Through Strategic Capital Development Projects and Enhance The Critical Sources Of Revenues Due To The Commission.’

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The piece of legislation intends to empower the Commission to adopt innovative financing mechanisms by saving 15% of its total annual revenue as “General Reserve Fund (GRF)” with the view to financially sustain its operations beyond the 10-year period that part of the critical sources of revenue will last.

“Extend the validity period of sources of revenue due to the Commission by additional 5-years. This is to enable the Commission mobilise adequate resources to fully implement it’s Master- Plan.

Deepen the impact of the Commission on the lives of the residents of member-states through the establishment of Development Trust Funds in all the Federal Constituencies of six member states to assist the Commission to accelerate the pace of its interventions and to tackle challenges peculiar to each constituency.”

In his debate, Diri further explained that NEDC was established in 2017 to, among other mandates coordinate all interventions towards rebuilding the North-East sub-region destroyed by decade-long insurgency.

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He said: “In the past four years of its existence, the commission has implemented various humanitarian, reconstruction and resettlement projects in furtherance of its mandates. These success stories, however, can be consolidated through improved financing and effective legislation.

“Right Honorable Speaker, Honorable Colleagues, this legislation can’t come at a better time than now that stable peace has substantially returned to the North East as attested to by the closure of various IDP camps throughout and the return of affected Nigerians back to their homes. Now is the best time to rebuild the North East.

I wish to call on this Honorable House as the initiator of NEDC Act to once again identify with the marginalised and war-affected people of the North East by supporting this Bill.

I wish to further call on the relevant stakeholders; their Excellencies, Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, the Commission, our traditional and religious leaders to also demonstrate support to this Bill at the public hearing stage.”

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