Aminat Yahaya —
The Nigerian government yesterday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) announced the approval of the reconstruction of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway by one of the telecommunication service providers, the MTN, at the cost of over N202.8 billion, under the road Infrastructure tax credit scheme.
At the FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola explained that the execution of the road project is in line with the Executive Order 7 signed by the President in January, 2019.
The Minister while disclosing that the telecommunication giant would complete the dualisation of the 110-kilometer road, he also revealed that the Council approved the Umuchi-Ususu-Umueme GZ Industries Road in Abia for construction by GZ Industries, also under the Tax Credit Scheme at the cost of about N4.2 billion.
“The Ministry of Works and Housing, presented two memoranda and they are largely Public Private Partnership (PPP) based memoranda and I will explain how, the Minister began.
“In 2019 January 25 specifically, you might recall that President Buhari approved Executive Order 7, which was the road infrastructure tax credit scheme, to allow private sector to invest tax liabilities in advance in infrastructure, and that policy has helped us to finance roads like or by Obajana to Kaba, Apapa-Oshodi, Oshodi-Ojota Expressway, the Bodo-Bonni expressway in Port Harcourt, about 1,000 kilometers covering 21 roads under the NNPC investment. So, there is increase optic for that policy. So, today we have two more.
“The first that was approved today was the one by MTN Nigeria Plc, the telecommunication company to take over and complete the ongoing Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. That road is a 110 kilometres, which is being dualised. So, you have 110 kilometers times two.
“The outstanding works aggregate to about 91 point something kilometers on both sides, if you accumulate it for those who use the road. You will see that the Enugu bound section has been largely completed but there’s a lot of work to be done on the Onitsha section.
“This policy is going to allow a steady and sustained stream of funding to completion by MTN and the amount approved is N202,887,436,672,11 billion to complete the outstanding works of an aggregate of 91.9 kilometers on both sides. The second memo also was under the Tax Credit Scheme and while the first one was related to the road linking Anambra and Enugu states, this one is with respect to a road in Abia state.
“Now, the road is called Umuchi -Ususu Umueme GZ Industries Road in Abia. The private sector beneficiary of the approval is a company called GZ Industries. GZ Industries manufactures aluminium cans for bottling drinks. They have a factory in Agbara in Ogun state and they have another one in Abia in this area. So, it’s a link road to their factory.
“The approval was for N4,205,454,855,26 billion. The road is a 3.7 kilometer road. So it’s an access road to their Industry. Council graciously approved both memoranda”.