The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Tuesday 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 the Executive Order 7 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
In his remarks before the brief presentation ceremony at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, explained that the Tax Credit Scheme, which, according to him, was inherited from the previous administration, was meant as 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.
“The Tax Credit Scheme is a policy that we inherited from the previous administration. It was there but it was never used”, Fashola said, adding that it was in the life of the present administration that the scheme was given life and because it had an expiration date the Executive Order 7 had to be put in place to enable government use it to address the Kabba-Obajana, and “the difficult Apapa-Oworonsoki Roads which is serving the Apapa Port”.
The Minister explained further, “Of course, the Tax Credit Scheme that we inherited had an expiry date and when we started using it, it was being said that it was made for one company alone. So we had to come out to explain that it was meant for all the companies that have tax credit”.
“And when it expired, we looked at some of the limitations of the scheme and we made some recommendations to the President”, the Minister said, adding that one of the recommendations was that, perhaps, the roads should be made more diverse and to be spread out to include all the six geopolitical zones.
According to him, another recommendation was that other companies that have smaller turnover could come together to form conglomerates.
He added, “All of these were then factored into the recommendations that were passed to the President which was signed as the Executive Order 7”.
Describing the signing of the cheque as “a big show of confidence by the NNPC”, 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 firms.
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 adding that with the vandalization of the distribution pipelines the company had been forced to use the roads as its channel of distribution of petroleum products nationwide.
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 befitting road network adding that it was an investment that was being done in compliance to the Executive Order 7 to use the company’s tax credit.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Muhammad Nami 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 tax credit.
The critical roads, which are major routes for the distribution of petroleum products across the country by the NNPC include, the roads in the North Central totaling 791kilometres which are the dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani Junction Road Section I: Ilorin-Jebba In Kwara State, dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani Junction Road Section II: Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani Junction In Kwara/Niger States and dualization of Suleja-Minna Road in Niger State.
Also in the zone are the dualization of Suleja-Minna Road in Niger State Phase II, Reconstruction of Bida-Lambata Road in Niger State, Agaie – Katcha – Baro Road, Emergency Repairs of failed section of Mokwa – Makera – Tegina – Kaduna State Border in Niger State, Minna – Zungeru – Tegina road and Bida – Minna Road.
In the South-South, three roads totaling 81.90 kilometres which are under the scheme include rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in Cross River State Section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States, dualization of outstanding portion of Odukpani-ltu-lkot Ekpene, and dualization of Oku-Iboku Power Plant Section of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene Road in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States.
The roads chosen in the South East, aggregating to122 kilometres, include rehabilitation of Umuahia (Ikwuano)-Ikot Ekpene Road: Umuahia-Umudike in Abia State and the dualization of Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road in Abia/Akwa Ibom States.
In the North East, roads involved total 117 kilometres. They include rehabilitation of Cham-Numan Section of Gombe-Yola Road in Adamawa State, construction of Bali – Serti Road in Taraba State and rehabilitation of Gombe – Biu Road in Gombe/Borno State while in the North West the roads chosen, which aggregate to 283.5kilometres, include Rehabilitation of Outstanding Sections of Gada – Zaima – Zuru – Gamji Road Phase II in Kebbi State and Rehabilitation of Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto-Birnin Kebbi.
In the South West, roads chosen are rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border) in Lagos State and the dualization of Ibadan – Ilorin Road (Route A2) Section II in Oyo State (Oyo – Ogbomosho) which aggregate to 114.00 kilometres.