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Tax Credit: NNPC’s  N1.6trn quest to fix Nigerian roads

Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, inspecting rehabilitation work progress on the Lagos-Badagry Road, as part of the 21 roads funded by the NNPC Limited under the FG’s Federal Roads Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.
Bayo Amodu
While Nigeria boasts of the largest road network in Africa, only about 60,000km out of its estimated 195,000km road network is paved. Some of the roads are either in a state of disrepair, poorly maintained or altogether untarred.
As part of the Federal Government’s efforts to improve the condition of road infrastructure and transportation in the country, it introduced Executive Order 007 which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, 2019.
The instrument brought about the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme with the objective to unlock funding from the private sector for critical road infrastructure in the country.
Executive Order 007 was designed to empower private companies to finance the construction or refurbishment of federal roads designated as “Eligible Roads” under the scheme and recoup their investments through the deduction of the approved total costs expended on the project from their annual Companies Income Tax.
The Road Infrastructure Scheme is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) intervention that enables the Federal Government to leverage private sector capital and efficiency for the construction, and refurbishment of critical road infrastructure in key economic areas in Nigeria.
Participants under the arrangement were entitled to utilise the total cost, referred to as “Project Cost”, incurred in the construction or refurbishment of an eligible road as a tax credit against their future Companies Income Tax (CIT) liability until full cost recovery is achieved.
Like any other responsible corporate citizen, the NNPC prioritizes road infrastructure as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects and became one of the companies that have keyed into the initiative.
The NNPC had expressed interest to invest in the reconstruction of selected federal roads in order to sustain a smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
A few months after announcing the release of N621 billion to revamp selected Nigerian roads, the company is planning to invest over N1 trillion for a similar purpose. In the first phase, the NNPC was expected to construct a total of 1,804.6 kilometres of roads at a total cost of N621,237,143,897.35, with the North-central getting the highest chunk of N244.87 billion and the South-south emerging the second highest beneficiary of the NNPC roads project with the sum of N172.02 billion.
In addition, the South-west has a total allocation of N81.87 billion; it’s N56.12 billion for the North-East, while the South-East has N43.28 billion allocation.  The North-west was allocated N23.05 billion.
The Group Chief Executive, NNPC Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, said during a tour of roads in the North-central and South-west, along with the Chief Executive of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami and top officials of the Ministry of Works and Housing, that in the coming months, Nigerian road users will experience substantial comfort when commuting.
Also, among the roads visited by Kyari were the one in Niger State where he carried out an assessment of the reconstruction of the Bida-Lambata road in the state, with a length 124.81km and the Lagos-Badagry expressway along the Agbara junction and Nigeria/Benin border.
Under the scheme, the road projects will be funded by NNPC and the equivalent amount deducted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service from the National Oil Company’s tax obligations. Through the scheme, the NNPC will be serving as an enabler for building the Nigerian economy and it is collaborating with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Works and the FIRS on the execution of the initiative.
The company said this is in response to the plight faced by petroleum products marketers in transportation which affects nationwide distribution.
Interestingly, NNPC Ltd is involved in operations across the oil and gas value chain from exploration and production of hydrocarbon and processing of natural gas to nationwide distribution of petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, and kerosene.
The NNPC’s assets base and operations span across different regions of the country and the oil and gas industry has remained one of the biggest and most important economic drivers through foreign and domestic investments.
Kyari further stated that the NNPC was taking cognisance of the importance of road infrastructure to the development of the Nigerian economy, explaining that it is the reason it is investing massively in road infrastructure.
He termed the programme a game changer in the federal government’s quest to scale up infrastructure projects in the country, noting that the NNPC will continue to support any effort of the government aimed at growing the Nigerian economy.
The GCEO expressed satisfaction with the progress of work so far done in the project sites visited, adding that the NNPC had done its part in releasing all the funds needed for their execution.
He said, “We are very happy about the state of this road development. We are very happy with this intervention across the country not just in this place. We are doing 1,800km across the country. We are taking another set of over N1 trillion of investments in road infrastructure in the country. We believe that this tax credit system that Mr President has put in place is the game changer for our country.
”We believe that in the next 24 months, there will be a massive change to the entire road network in this country and this is why NNPC is your company and working for all of us.
“We think that it is the best way to intervene and bring up our infrastructure. We are adding another set of cash, we have not reached the final numbers, but I know it is over N1 trillion.’’
Kyari stated that the quality of work was top-notch, revealing that the consultants deployed during Buhari’s stint at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), were handling the jobs. “We are using the same consultants in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Works and the FIRS to make sure that this works for all of us and we can see from the quality of work. This is the best framework for delivering infrastructure in the country. We are funding partners. We are development partners and enablers. So, whatsoever the FIRS and the ministry of works approve for us, we will consider from our cash flow and fund them,” he assured.
The Director, Roads, Ministry of Works, Folorunso Esan, said through the intervention, the NNPC has been able to improve the pace of the project from 10 per cent to about 40 per cent within a very short period.
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Freight Monitor

ANLCA cracks

Emenike Nwekeoji , ANLCA President
–ASECO chair resigns, cites internal pressure, backbiting, distrust
— insurrection at MMIA chapter as coup against chairman foiled 
The Eyewitness Reporter
Six months after the highly factionalized elections which brought in the duo of Emenike Nwekeoji and Olusegun Oduntan as the National President and Vice President respectively of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in September 2023, the graveyard peace which heralded the pyrrhic victory seems to have ruptured.
The fragile peace, which was the fallout of the five years of bitter and intractable war that sent the oldest freight forwarding association to a state of inertia, now seems to have given way to distrust, bickering, animosity, suspicion and repressed anger among the top echelon of the association.
To underline the smouldering fresh crisis that has hit the association, Nze Aloy Emeka Igwe, the Chairman of the Association Elections Committee(ASECO )of ANLCA, has resigned his appointment.
In his letter of resignation dated 27th, February 2024 and addressed to the National President, Emenike Nwekeoji, Igwe, in a voice laden with regret and bitterness, cited extraneous influence, backbiting, under current and lack of trust” as the reasons why he called it quit.
“ASECO as presently constituted depicts a divided house due to the extraneous influence and pressure.
” The under current, the backbiting and lack of trust within and without ASECO have caused me to review my membership and chairmanship of the committee.
“I have deeply addressed my thoughts to this, consulted my family, friends and associates and decided that my time with ASECO is irreversibly over.
“There is no energy, no motivation left in me to continue to work under the prevailing regrettable circumstances” Igwe bemoaned.
A few days after the resignation of the highly traumatized ASECO chairman, a coup was played out at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport chapter of the association where one Chief Bola Ashiru Balogun, one of the defeated candidates of the chapter elections staged an unsuccessful coup to unseat the incumbent chairman, Bangbala Adewusi, Monday, March 4th,2024.
In a commando-like style, Chief Bola Balogun came into the Chairman’s office with officers of the Police Force from the Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2, Onikan.
According to an eyewitness account, on the strength of a petition of threat to Life against the Chairman, the Chairman, Chief Adewusi followed them to the Zonal Headquarters
“While the Chairman was away to Zone 2, Chief Bola Balogun allegedly came with hoodlums and area boys to forcefully break into the office of the Chairman and seize power forcefully on the strength of a May 2023 court judgement, which has been appealed and is currently being heard by the Appeal Court”
However, the attempt to unseat Chief Adewusi, who sources said was an unpopular chairman foisted  on the chapter by the cabal in ANLCA, was thwarted by members of the Task Force, led by the CSO, Mr. Maxwell Onyemachi, and other well-meaning members of the chapter loyal to the embattled chairman.
However, the last is yet to be head of the failed coup at the MMIA chapter as a group loyal to Chief Ashiru Balogun has promised to relaunch the attack on the Chairman, Chief Adewusi who they regarded as a puppet of the cabal in the association.
Stakeholders feared that the recent happening in the association may have signaled the slide of ANLCA back to another round of crisis which has ravaged the war-weary group for five years before its graveyard peace that is now shortlived.
The ANLCA President, Emenike Nwekeoji, through the Sectary of the Association, Olumide Fakanlu, “has graciously accepted the resignation letter of the highly embittered ASECO chairman.
In his acceptance letter dated March 1st, 2024 and signed by Fakanlu, the ANLCA President said the letter was received with mixed feelings but nonetheless, it was graciously accepted while wishing Emeka Igwe well in his future endeavours, thus signaling the resumption of hostilities in the acclaimed oldest freight forwarding Association in Nigeria’s maritime industry
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Headlines

Tantita Seizures: Court orders forfeiture of MT Kali to FG

The Eyewitness Reporter 
Private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), has added another major win for the nation in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in a landmark judgement, as the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the forfeiture of an illegal crude oil vessel, MT Kali and its content to the Federal Government.
Securing this judgement is the first scenario in recent times when oil thieves and their barons are being prosecuted and brought to book as 20 crew members, including community boys’ accomplices, were arrested in the operation.
The police in the Charge NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/18/2024 B/W: INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE V. MT KALI & 22 ORS, had arraigned the vessel and its 22 crew members before the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice J.O. Abdulmalik.
Justice Abdulmalik granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of MT Kali & her content to the Federal Government.
However, the arraignment of the suspects was stalled as they were not produced in court by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff.
All efforts by the prosecuting counsel to convince the court to issue a production warrant to be served on the military authorities for the production of the defendants on 18th March 2024 being the next adjournment date or at least the issue of the defendants’ summons to be served on the defendants through the military authorities proved abortive.
The court, however, sternly warned that the charge may not survive beyond the next adjournment date should the prosecution not secure the attendance of the defendants for their arraignment and plea.
The illegal oil bunkering ship was arrested by the operatives of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited in conjunction with the special security task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, on January 11th, 2024.
The ship was arrested while siphoning crude oil from the Pennington Oil field of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa State.
The case is being prosecuted to a logical conclusion in the act of dexterity and patriotic zeal by the operatives of Tantita led by its Executive Director, Operations and Technical Services, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh and a team raised by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun.
Egbetokun had directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the bunkering ship.
Investigations into the arrest of MT Kali were being intensified as operatives of Tantita arrested another illegal bunkering ship MT HARBOR SPIRIT, weeks after, on February 4th.
The Moldovian vessel was caught while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State.
The investigation and prosecution of the two bunkering ships and their crew members were being diligently coordinated by Enisuoh and Head, Investigation, IGP-STPIB, Mr. Omar John Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).
It was gathered that MT Harbor Spirit and members of her crew have since been arraigned in court on Friday, March 1st, 2024.
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Customs

Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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