The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, have launched the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, LIFE-ND, project to transform the rural economy in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking at the unveiling of the project at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Yesterday, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, said that the agricultural programme was designed to improve the livelihood of the Niger Deltans, especially youths and women.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was represented by the Commission’s Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr George Ero, stated that the project was in sync with the Federal Government’s agricultural policy and the strategic framework for youth employment and job creation.
According to Nunieh, the LIFE-ND project, to be implemented in the nine Niger Delta states, was anchored on the strategic framework that addressed the large and growing number of restless unemployed youths, particularly in rural areas.
She said: “LIFE-ND is planned with a financing gap of six years. It has both the first phase of six years, with parallel finance from NDDC to the tune of US$30million, and an additional six years to be financed in the future by other partners or additional IFAD loan. The total project cost to be incurred during the 12-year implementation period, including price and physical contingencies, duties and taxes, are estimated at US$129.17 million.
“This project is meant for the Niger Delta region and the essence of this launch is to create more awareness about the project and to make the people realize how much the government of the daycares about their welfare in the area of job creation, food security and improved standard of living. There is no better time than now for a project like this to be launched. The region needs to take it more seriously and harness maximally the expected benefits of this project.”
The NDDC boss re-stated the commitment of the Commission to continuously partner with development organisation like IFAD in bringing the best to the people of the Niger Delta region, adding: “We look forward to impactful project implementation in the region.”
In his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, observed that the seed of LIFE-ND programme was sown in 2010 when the Federal Government recognized the need to diversify the country’s export earnings and alter its economic growth strategy.
Nanono, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Mohammed Bello Umar, said that the development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari placed emphasis on fighting corruption, economic recovery, job creation and provision of security.