…as NNPCL Clarifies $3.3 bn loan purpose

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacheus Adedeji, has raised concerns about the legality and implementation of the N2.59 trillion Tax Credit Scheme initiated by the former President Muhammadu Buhari administration for road construction.

Concurrently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has clarified the purpose of a $3.3 billion loan secured for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

At a committee session, Adedeji asserted that the FIRS’s core mandate is to assess collect taxes and remit them to the federation account, rather than allocating funds for specific projects through executive orders.

He raised concerns about the legality of the Tax Credit Scheme and called for its discontinuation, emphasising that road contracts should be awarded and financed by the Ministry of Works.

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In contrast, Umoru Ajiya, the Chief Financial Officer of NNPCL, defended the Tax Credit Scheme’s effectiveness in addressing the deteriorating condition of federal roads across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. Ajiya reported that N664 billion has been utilised for road reconstruction and rehabilitation under the scheme.

Senator Sani Musa, chairing the committee, echoed Adedeji’s apprehensions, citing constitutional provisions that may conflict with the Tax Credit Scheme. Musa indicated a willingness to await the outcome of an upcoming meeting involving the FIRS, CBN, and the Ministry of Works before proposing corrective measures.

Turning to the $3.3 billion loan facility, NNPCL clarified that it was secured to assist the CBN in stabilising the foreign exchange market by mitigating forex volatility. Ajiya disclosed that $2.2 billion has already been disbursed to the apex bank, with the remaining $1.05 billion scheduled for transfer by the end of the month.

The divergent perspectives presented by FIRS and NNPCL underscore the complexities surrounding fiscal policies and infrastructure financing in Nigeria.

As stakeholders await the outcome of the impending inter-agency meeting, the fate of both the Tax Credit Scheme and the CBN loan remains uncertain, with potential ramifications for the country’s economic and infrastructural development.