Representatives of NNPC and FIRS present a symbolic cheque to the federal government for the rehabilitation of 1804.6 kilometres of roads spread over the six geopolitical zones of the country. Photo: Abubakar Bestu
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has handed over a symbolic cheque of N621.24 Billion for the rehabilitation of 21 critical roads across the country through the Tax Credit Scheme under Executive Order 7 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the Tax Credit Scheme, which, according to him, was inherited from the previous administration, was a strategic partnership with the Private Sector.
The Minister, who said the present administration was currently using it for the construction and rehabilitation of Kabba-Obajana Road in Kogi State and the Apapa-Oworonsoki Road in Lagos, pointed out that contrary to the belief in some quarters that the Scheme was meant for only big companies like the Dangote Group, the scheme was open to all the members of the Private Sector.
Giving the presentation of the cheque as a sign of the participation of the NNPC in the Scheme, Mr Fashola said in order to ensure the inclusion of all segments of the Sector, the Federal Government had opened a window of participation for smaller companies by asking them to form conglomerates, in order to enable them to mobilise enough funding capacity.
Executive Order 007 signed by the President in 2019 to stimulate private sector participation
Mr Fashola said it was within the lifespan of the Buhari administration that the scheme was given lif,e and since it had an expiration date, Executive Order 7 had to be put in place to enable the government to use it to address the Kabba-Obajana and the difficult Apapa-Oworonsoki roads, which were serving the Apapa Port.
Describing the signing of the cheque as a big show of confidence by the NNPC, Mr Fashola expressed delight that contrary to the earlier impression created in some quarters, the scheme was now attracting other sectors of the economy including the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors.
The Minister, who said some of the roads had subsisting contracts that were over ten years old, pointed out that the NNPC was not taking over but funding the roads to ensure completion.
He said as soon as the certificates contractors were certified, they would be escalated to the NNPC which would be required to pay within 30 days.
Mr Fashola gave an assurance that all the unpaid certificates that were in existence before the scheme was approved and all the certificates that budget provisions were inadequate to pay, would be paid as from signing of the contract with the NNPC, adding that what it meant was that there would be money to pay the contractors who would, in turn, pay their suppliers of construction materials in the chain of distribution of wealth.
Some of the roads like Apapa-Oworonasoki and Obajana-Kabba had no previous contracts in which case those on the tax credit schemes were allowed to choose their own contractors while the Ministry still acts as supervisors, he explained.
Mr Fashola urged the contractors to go out there and do the best they could to meet t
The Minister called on Nigerians to maintain the speed limit of 100 kilometers as specified by the nation’s traffic laws noting that the season of celebrations would involve a lot of movement of goods and persons across the country.
NNPC not taking over, but funding the 21 roads to enhance timely completion
Earlier, the representative of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC and Chief Finance Officer of the organization, Mr Umar Ajiya, said the Corporation was motivated by the challenged condition of some of the nation’s roads most of which were the arteries of the company’s operations.
Mr Ajiya said with the vandalism of the distribution pipelines, the company had been forced to use the roads as its channel of distribution of petroleum products nationwide and had contributed to improving their condition.
Thanking the Minister of Works and Housing and other relevant agencies of government, the NNPC Chief Finance Officer said the symbolic presentation of the N621 billion was a way of contributing to the Federal Government efforts to give Nigerians a befitting road network.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Muhammad Nami, in his remarks, said the investment in roads was as a result of Executive Order 007, 2019 meant to encourage taxpayers to use company income tax payable by them to fix the nation’s critical infrastructure in exchange for the tax credit.
Explaining the process involved in the scheme, the Executive Chairman said the scheme was meant also to support the fact that there was a social contract between the taxpayers and the government.
Reporting by Abubakar Bestu; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino