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Federal Government steps up private sector inclusiveness on road infrastructure delivery

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TUE, FEBRUARY 19 2019-theG&BJournal-The Federal Government has flagged-off its roads for tax-refund initiative with Dangote Construction handling a 16-kilometre Ofeme Community road network in Ohuhu in Umuahia North local Government, Abia State, an initiative aimed at incentivising private sector investment on road infrastructure through tax credit.

The Federal Executive Council approved the Road Trust Fund (RTF) Scheme on 26 October 2017 targeted at increasing private sector participation in the construction and rehabilitation of Federal roads in Nigeria by incentivising investment through tax credit.

The introduction of the Scheme helps ease companies of their tax burden. Manufacturing entities, especially those within major industrial hubs can pool funds to participate in the Scheme for the benefit of their companies and the overall growth of the economy, albeit in the long run.

The community road project which is expected to be delivered under the FG’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme enables private sector players like Dangote, Unilever, NLBG and others to invest in road construction, upgrade access roads to industrial and manufacturing clusters and reduce cost of transportation.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony in Ofeme Abia state, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelemah, called on the people to give the contractor the needed cooperation to enable it complete the road project in record time of one year stated in the contractual agreement.

Also speaking, the Federal Controller of Works, Abia State, Engr. Nwankwo Chuwudike, who represented the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, said “the road would not only enhance the standard of living of the Ofeme community, it would also lead to reduction in the cost of transportation and ultimately help in poverty reduction.”

He called on the people of Ofeme to own the project while also “appealing to all road users, and the youths of this community to be supportive, patient and mindful of road diversions during construction, while we hold the contractors to their bond of timely and quality delivery of this service.”

Federal Government recently resolved to continue with massive infrastructural development across the country under Executive Order #007 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January. Six private sector players will execute 19 road projects under the Executive Order 7. They are Dangote Industries Limited; Lafarge Africa Plc; Unilever Nigeria Plc; Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc; Nigeria LNG Limited; and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited.

These Investors will be investing in 19 Eligible Road Pilot scheme projects, totalling 794.4km which have been prioritised in 11 States across each of the 6 Geo-Political Zones.

The Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed who chairs the Scheme’s management committee said that “Executive Order #007 of 2019 on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme will incentivise private sector investment in Nigerian roads across key economic corridors and industrial clusters, relieving the Government of the burden of funding the initial out lay of these investments.

The Scheme is to be administered by the Road Infrastructure Refurbishment and Development Tax Credit Scheme Management Committee.

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