ANEEJ and LITE- Africa Meet with Chairman Delta State house of Assembly Committee on DESOPADEC
ANEEJ and LITE- Africa Meet with Chairman Delta State house of Assembly Committee on DESOPADEC Hon.Denis Omovie
MEMO ADDRESSED TO
THE CHAIRMAN, DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON DESOPADEC
BY: AFRICA NETWORK FOR ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE (ANEEJ)
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOR TRANSFORMATION AND EMPOWERMENT (LITE-AFRICA)
DURING ANEEJ/LITE-AFRICA’S VISIT TO THE CHAIRMAN ON TUESDAY JULY 12, 2016 AT DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY COMPLEX, ASABA, DELTA STATE
Other Honourable members
Ladies and gentlemen
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City, Edo State and Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE-Africa), Warri, Delta State are currently implementing a USAID civil society project tagged “Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement” SACE. Both organizations while implementing the project carried out a research on Niger Delta Institutions (NDIs) such as NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, EDSOGPADEC, OSOPADEC AND DESOPADEC to get a deeper understanding of the mandates, policies and the activities they are pursuing. ANEEJ and LITE-Africa also conducted a citizen report card survey on the institutions including DESOPADEC to get citizens’ perception on the activities of the Commission and allow the citizens to rate their performance.
We are here to share with the leadership of Delta State House of Assembly Committee on DESOPADEC our findings from both the research and citizen report card and explore areas of collaboration to strengthen the institutions established to accelerate the development of Niger Delta region.
We will be specific to DESOPADEC because the house play oversight role on the Commission.
Summary of report findings
• The finding shows that, there is total lack of synergy between DESOPADAC and the other agencies working to develop the Niger Delta region such as NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. This synergy should ordinarily promote the sighting of projects that are complementary in nature. The lack of synergy has in most cases led to duplication of projects effort in communities across the region.
• Most of the communities complained of lack of consultation by the development agencies including DESOPADEC before projects are identified and executed. This to them often results in lack of ownership by the benefiting community. The lack of ownership was also identified as the reason why most projects suffer vandalism and lack of maintenance.
• The development agencies including DESOPADEC have a number of abandoned projects in some communities which do not give a good name to the commission. The projects abandoned cut across Health Center, Staff quarters, Class Room Blocks and Power Generating Sets, street lights, and skill acquisition centres.
• DESOPADEC website is not regularly updated just like some other institutions and basic information including budget and annual report among others are not available and accessible to the public. This hinders access by the public to such basic information. To us as development workers, this puts a public agency in bad light. Development partners for instance may need to support DESOPADEC in specific areas, what they need to do is to go to the commission’s website and access their reports which will show areas requiring such intervention,, The availability of such information will facilitate easy access to the commission to further such discussion.
• The findings also revealed that civil society groups have been totally excluded in the project monitoring framework of the Commission. This creates a void for independent verification of the commission’s activities.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DESOPADEC
The following recommendations represent our suggestions as development workers arising from the reports and our policy work in the region.
Consultative meetings with communities before project selection and execution should be pursued as it will ensure implementation of people oriented programmes and afford the people a sense of ownership of such projects
The Commission should make effort to complete all abandoned projects in their area of operations and also embark on new projects in the State that will be of maximum benefit to the people.
DESOPADEC should regularly update their website for its operation. The website should be used to share information with the public. Information such as annual budget, annual reports highlighting ongoing/completed projects with pictures, successes and challenges, This information will be useful to the public and will also increase public rating in terms of disclosure. Such reports could attract development partners to the Commission who could provide grants in areas of interest.
DESOPADEC should make effort to work collaboratively with other development agencies, such as NDDC, Federal Ministry of Niger Affairs, CSOs and synergize their action plans in various communities in order to avoid duplication of projects and waste of resources.
DESOPADEC should include civil society organizations in their project monitoring framework as it will make available to the Commission, independent monitoring reports. This will support supervision during project implementation to ensure compliance and quality assurance and avoid sub-standard or abandoned projects. This would further facilitate accountability and improve the public perception of the Commissions’ transparency.
We believe that Delta State House of Assembly has a role to play in bringing about a transparent, accountable and effective Commission, hence the decision to meet with the leadership of the House committee on DESOPADEC to share our views.
We are aware that DESOPADEC 2016 budget currently before Delta State House of Assembly has experience some delays, we urge the house to speedily work on the budget so that the commission can assess funds to address critical infrastructure needs in the State.
During our last meeting with the management of DESOPADEC, the commission complained of huge expenditure on staff salaries arising from over bloated staff strength. We therefore urge the House of Assembly to work with the commission to see how this burden can be addressed to free some resources to finance development initiative.
We are prepared to collaborate with your committee to undertake independent monitoring of DESOPADEC projects to ease your oversight function. Such report will be made readily available to your committee to work on
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LITE-Africa Cooperate Headquarters
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Off DSC expressway, Effurun Warri