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FG dangles tax waivers, premium routes tolling at Dangote, others as bait into road constructions

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Tax waivers, offer of premium and busy highways for tolling appears to be Federal government’s incentive meant to bring in private sector players into roads rehabilitations in the country, going by recent meeting of key industrialists with Dave Umahi, Minister of Works on Thursday, DDM finding shows.

The Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, is believed to have made this disclosure to CEO of Dangote Group of Conglomerates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Governor of Taraba State,  Dr. Agbu Kefas and Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, former Minority Leader, Federal House of Representatives, at a visit to his office, today.

35, 000 kilometer roads bearing 70 percent of vehicular traffic in the country are badly in need of repairs to shore up the country’s infrastructure stock.

Like developed economies, the country is looking towards private sector funding to achieve the needed repairs.

“This private sector initiative will fast track road infrastructure revolution and bring order, accountability, and profitable entrepreneurship to the operations, management, and maintenance of Federal Highways,” explained Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji special adviser (Media) to the Minister in a press statement.

but the statement is mute on what the incentives are.

The online newspaper however gathered that federal government is looking towards tax waivers and BoT- Build Operate and Transfer, model to bring the business men into the game.

“It is why government hasn’t scrapped the Presidential Order, PO, 7,” explained a source at the Ministry of Works in Abuja.

PEO7 utilizes what is known as Road Infrastructure Tax Credit.

What this allows is that companies, private sector players could undertake to build road infrastructures in exchange for tax rebate equivalent of what they should pay statutorily as tax. Enacted by former president, Mohammadu Buhari, the PEO7, will expire in the next two years.

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Shaki- Kaiama to Kishi, a 90 kilometer stretch of road linking major farming hubs in Oyo and Kwara States is set to benefit from this.

BUA Cement will undertake the road construction under PO7.

Speaking further Umahi’s engagement, the aide said that it is in keeping with the road infrastructure initiatives of the Renewed Hope administration of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Umahi has been engaging with concessionaires and other private sector organizations on the need for private sector investment on Nigerian roads infrastructure as done in advanced economies of the world.

He said that objectives informed the closed door meeting of  the  Minister of Works with the Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Agbu Kefas, the founder and CEO of Dangote Group of Conglomerates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote , and Hon. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, former Minority Leader, Federal House of Representatives.

“It would be recalled that the Hon. Minister of Works in his zeal to change the ugly narrative of road infrastructure in Nigeria had set up three committees to work on the contracts executed by some concessionaires with the Federal Ministry of Works with a view to reviewing the scope and cost implications of the projects they undertook to execute under the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI),” the aide said in the news statement.


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