By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives, Tuesday, passed through Second Reading a bill seeking to establish the General Reserve Fund for North-East Development Commission (NEDC) with a view to ensure sustainable funding of its operations beyond the 10-years period.
The private member bill, sponsored by Hon.- Mansur Soro seeks to amend the North East Development Commission to deepen the impact of the Commission on the lives of residents of Member States namely: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, through strategic capital development projects and to enhance the critical sources of revenue due to the Commission and for related matters.
According to him, the Commission which was established in 2017 to, among other mandates, coordinate all interventions toward rebuilding the North-East sub-region destroyed by decade-long insurgency, has over the past four years of its existence implemented various humanitarian, reconstruction and resettlement projects in furtherance of its mandates.
Hon Soro explained that the bill seeks to empower the Commission to adopt innovative financing mechanisms by saving 15 per cent of its total annual revenue as ‘General Reserve Fund’ (GRF) with the view to financially sustain its operations beyond the 10-years period that part of the critical sources of revenue will last.
The bill also seeks to extend the validity period of sources of revenue due to the Commission by additional 5 years with a view to enable the Commission to mobilise adequate resources to fully implement its Master Plan.
The proposed legislation further seeks to 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.
He said: “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!”
After the debate, the bill was referred to the House Committee on North East for further legislative action.