As part measures to improve critical infrastructures across Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N621.2bn for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for reconstruction of 21 federal roads in the country.
As stated, the the fund which would cover the 21 roads spread across the six geopolitical zones in the country was a strategic intervention under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure and Refreshment Tax Credit Scheme.
Confirming the approval on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after FEC weekly meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said that nine of the selected projects were in North-Central, three in North-East, two in North-West, two in South-East, three in South-South, and two in South-West.
He explained that the approved sum would be deployed by the NNPC from its tax liabilities to 21 road projects across the six-geo-political zones which would would cover a total distance of 1,804.6 kilometres, adding that the tax deployment would not be a one-off payment but periodic.
According to him, there was an Executive Order 7, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, allowing private sector operators to identify infrastructure such as roads for which they would deploy in advance the taxes that they should have paid.
“You recall that I had briefed you here about the use of that policy by the Dangote Group on the Obajana to Kabba and Apapa to Oworonshoki. Earlier this year, there were five other roads, the Kaduna Western Bye-pass, the Lekki Port Road, the road from Sagamu through Papalanto and a couple of others like that.
“So, today we have another player; we have other interested players who are showing interest but we haven’t concluded. But we have another player who has shown interest and committed to deploy taxes and it is the NNPC. So NNPC has identified 21 roads that it wants to deploy some of its tax liabilities to,’’ he said.
The minister said that “the instructive thing about the initiative was that it would help the government to achieve many things, including Ministerial Mandate Three and Four, which were discussed at the recent retreat.”
He said the Ministerial Mandate Three was energy sufficiency in electric power and petroleum energy distribution across the country. According to him, “petroleum energy distribution is being impacted positively and negatively by the transport infrastructure, which is the Ministerial Mandate Four.”
“So, NNPC has sought and council has approved today that NNPC deploy tax resources to 21 routes covering a total distance of 1,804.6km across the six geopolitical zones. Out of those 21 roads, nine are in the North-Central, particularly Niger State; and the reason is that Niger State is major storage centre for NNPC,’’ he said.
He listed the approved road to include the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Agbara junction, Ibadan to Ilorin, the Oyo-Ogbomosho section in South-West.
“In the South-East, you have the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene in Abia and Akwa Ibom; so that is a major link; then you have Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot-Ekpene road again and so on so forth.
“So, in the North-West, it is Gadar Zaima-Zuru-Ganji road and also Zaria- Funtua-Gusau to Sokoto Road. In the North-East, it is the Cham-Numan, Bali-Serti and Gombe-Biu Roads. The road impacted in the North-Central, include Ilorin-Jeda-Mokwa-Bokani sections one and two; Suleja-Minna sections one and two.
“Bida-Lambata Agaie-katcha-Baro road and Mokwa-Makera-Tagina-Kaduna boarder in Niger State, Minna-Zungeru-Tegina road, and Bida-Minna road-all in Niger State; as I said, a total of 21 roads.’’