By Chris Ochayi
UYO: President Goodluck Jonathan has endorsed the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Trust Fund, MSTF, in order to fast tract the development of the Niger Delta region.
President Jonathan who endorsed the mechanism Friday while inaugurating the 40-member National Council on Niger Delta at the Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, said, the process will create development partners to ensuring transformation of the region.
The proposed MSTF is expected to solve the decades of funding problems faced in the process of developing the region.
Under this arrangement as contained in the Niger Delta Action Plan, developed by the Ministry, the MSTF will mobilise an additional $200 million, about N3.2billion, as the first tranche of funding.
President Jonathan who was represented by his Vice President Arch. Namadi Sambo, said, the government is committed to push forward a new dawn of development in the region.
He said, “this mechanism will assist the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to more effectively coordinate development resources from different stakeholders in achieving the intended objectives.
“Today’s event marks one in the series of efforts by the Federal Government to consolidate and reaffirm all commitments to the people of the Niger Delta, made within the framework of the Amnesty programme in 2010.
“We must now capitalize on the prevailing peace frameworks in the region to push forward a new dawn in the region. When we work together, we are better able to unleash our creative potentials in optimising our huge human and natural resources for the stability and prosperity of the Niger Delta, and the good and progress of our people.”
The President stressed further that, “we consider it a priority to sustain the consolidation of the current security situation in order to deepen the very foundations of durable and mutually beneficial peace.
“This is achievable if we forthrightly and with articulation to address the development challenges and neglect of its people.”
He said, this has been the foremost objective in the development of the Niger Delta Action Plan, by this administration, to complement the specific commitments contained in the Amnesty programme.
“This plan is also of great relevant for its concrete, comprehensive and coherent programme of investments in the social and infrastructure sectors of the various communities of the Niger Delta. This enthusiasm that met its recent presentation at the stakeholders’ conference, is an encouraging indication of joint purpose.”
The Action Plan according to him if implemented diligently will help to drive on investment programme of economic and social empowerment that will increase the capacity of communities to partake in their own development process.
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