The Federal Government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding of N621 billion to fund the construction of critical road infrastructure across the country.
The Tax Credit MoU, which was signed in Abuja by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on behalf of the Federal Government; the Chief Fiance Officer of NNPC, represented by the General Manager International Energy Relations, Mr Garba Hadejia; and the Executive Secretary, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammed Manni, was to actualise the Executive Order 007.
Speaking at the occasion, Fashola said the executive order 007 was a strategic partnership with the private sector, according to him it was used to address the Obajano-Kabba road and the very difficult Apapa – Oworoshoki express way.
”Of course, when the order expired, we looked at the limitations of the existing order and recommendations were made to the president, some of which were to make the roads more diverse in their selection and another was that smaller companies could merge in groups to handle smaller roads.
“All of these were then factored in to the order that president Buhari signed as executive order 007 in 2019, the governance structure around it and how applications are made and so on and so forth.
“So, I think it’s important to make that clear application, because every so often when policies are made, it is misunderstood or requires further clarification, so this is not an order for one person it’s an order for all Nigerian businesses.
“We’re now seeing the oil industry sector step in very sure footedly with over 600 billion naira to address over 21 roads that cover 1800 kilometre, that’s truly massive, it is a show of confidence by NNPC.
“We are also seeing interests in the Telecom sector, and we hope that this will carry on as a strategic expansion for private sector interest contributing to the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure.
“We’re also seeing interests in the Telecom sector, and we hope that this will carry on as a strategic expansion for private sector interest contributing to the development of Nigeria’s infrastructures,” Fashola said.
He added that a governance structure had been put in place to ensure that no contractor would ask for an increase in price and that FIRS has five days to certify all contractor certificates and NNPC had 30 days to pay up.
Fashola said this had given more confidence to contractors of the assurance to get paid and urged them to mobilise their staff, equipment, supplies back to site.
He was optimistic that the impact of the funding would be noticed before the commencement of the rainy season.
“Finally let me say that as we enter the peek of the yuletide season, there will be a lot of movement of goods, vehicles and persons on our highways as the number increases, we are also seeing an increase in speeding and increase in accidents.
“And, as such I appeal to the media to carry this message over that the maximum speed limit on all federal highways is 100km/h and shouldn’t be a kilometre higher.
More importantly there’s an increasing tendency to use the phone while driving and this is an absolute no, as it puts the driver and other road users in danger, and we hope that if these two basic ideas are heeded to, we can really reduce the number of accidents on our roads,” Fashola said.
On his part, Mr Muhammed Manni, Executive Secretary, Federal Inland Revenue Service, said the investment in roads was a call on using tax payers’ income tax in fixing critical road infrastructure.
This is also to support the fact that there is a social contract between the tax payers and the government and that is what the Federal Government is doing using order 007 to give value to the tax payers money.
“So, this is actually necessary for us to fix some of these critical roads because the annual budgetary allocation for these roads are not only minimal but absolutely insufficient so government has to come out with this in making sure that some of the roads were constructed.
“Some of these roads were in the 70s and 80s and are currently bad and need to be fixed in order for us to move goods, persons and farm products from one location to another without any obstruction.
“Secondly and most importantly to bridge the critical infrastructure gap that we face as a country,’’ Manni said.
Manni, therefore, commended the corporation for finding it necessary to invest in road infrastructure.
The Chief Finance Officer of the organization, Mr Umar Ajiya, said the condition of the road networks in the country was affecting their business.
‘’We are charged with the responsibility of providing the country with petroleum products, in the cause of doing that most of our pipelines have been vandalised which has resulted in haulage of this products through trucks.
“Which pass through many of these national road network and these road networks have suffered the same fate over the years and it is difficult for our tanker drivers to pass safely and easily to convey these products to the books and crannies of Nigeria.
“So it is on that note that we find this tax credit scheme a very important way by which we can step in to support the Federal Ministry of Works in funding these road networks, we are willing and ready to fund with 621billion,” he said.
He appreciated the government for the privilege to contribute to the sector with the scheme.