The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited says it is investing N1.96 trillion into road infrastructure development via its tax credit scheme intervention.
The company made this known at a meeting with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola and other key stakeholders in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Mr Umar Ajiya, representative of the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said the company was committed to funding the critical roads across the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NNPC in 2021 intervened in the first phase of the tax credit scheme with N621.24 billion to rehabilitate and increase the stock of major roads and highways.
“Clearly as you recall, we have done phase 1 and funding has been steady, we are now committed to a second phase of N1.9 trillion and we are also committed to setting aside funds to fund the contractors including any necessary mobilisation that could be required.
“What is important for us is that our consultants will have to validate the value for money and the quality of work that you’ve done on these roads.
“I think that our road users alluded to the fact that they have seen extensive quality work being done on the roads that have been assigned during phase 1.
“We want the same quality to be maintained because of execution of the roads under phase 2, and speaking of execution is very important, because the funds are available and therefore there should be no excuses,” Kyari said.
Also at the meeting, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammed Nami called on the contractors not to be doubtful of their payments, assuring them that all their monies would be paid.
“I’m assuring you that we have existing and future tax capability based on the estimate received by the FIRS that will be able to provide you with enough funds as your payment are due and confirmed.
“The gains of phase 1 have been evaluated, some of the roads that we were speeding through were roads constructed over 40 years ago and to God be the glory through this executive orders they are now being fixed.
“There are generally benefits for paying taxes because globally, civilisation is made possible through the taxes being paid.
“We continue to appeal to Nigerians and particularly the big tax payers to continue to trust this executive 007 so that they will continue to provide critical infrastructure that our country so dearly needed for our people to move goods and products from one location,” Nami said.
Giving a general overview of what had been achieved with the Phase I of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme, Mr Kuti Adedamola, Director Highway, FMWH said the tax credit scheme had done a lot in the construction and rehabilitation of some major roads across the country.
Adedamola said part of the roads worked on are the dualisation of the Suleja-Minna road, dualisation of Jebba-Mokwa Bokani road. Also Junction road on Kwara and Niger state among others.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, for his part, said the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari had taken practical steps to increase the stock of infrastructure ‘without infrastructure you can’t grow the economy’.
Fashola said that when this administration came into power, what was budgeted for infrastructure was N18 billion but that the present government increased this to N260 billion.
The Minister said even if the government had gone into borrowing to build the infrastructure it was leaving behind a stock of assets in ports, railways, bridges and roads which had impacted positively on the prosperity and economy of the people.
He said the government had gone into other pragmatic models like private sector partnership, SUKUK funds and then the tax credit by the NNPC.
“The debts are building roads and bridges, of which the Lagos-Ibadan road and the Second Niger Bridge are part. And it shows a clear difference between two governments.
“There are 44 roads, many of them are contracted but not funded, but now funding is in place. There is sustainability for the completion of these roads even if this government is no longer there.”
Fashola, however, appealed to all communities obstructing the right of way of government, insisting that government would not pay right of way to communities encroaching into the riof way of the constructions.
Speaking also at the occasion, Mr Lucky Osesua, Chairman, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) while commending the NNPC for its intervention called on government to pay urgent attention to some critical roads which he said are in bad states.
The roads according to him, included Benin- Sapele, Okene Auchi-Okpela road, Obigbo-Aba, Ogoja- Itu road and failed sections of Mokwa-Makera-Tegina-Kaduna border in Niger state adding that an enabling road would enhance the unions performance.