The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) is planning to invest over N1 trillion to revamp selected Nigerian roads, months after announcing the release of N621 billion for a similar purpose, the national oil company’s Group Chief Executive, Mallam Mele Kyari, said Thursday.
Speaking 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, Kyari stated that in the coming months, Nigerian road users will experience substantial comfort when commuting.
The programme is being executed under the tax credit scheme which is funded by the NNPC through FIRS and by extension the ministry of works, following Executive Order 007, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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.
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.
Among the roads visited by Kyari were the one in Niger State where he carried out an assessment of the reconstruction of Bida-Lambata road in the state, with a length 124.81km and the Lagos-Badagry expressway along the Agbara junction and Nigeria/Benin border.
As a matter of priority, the reconstruction of the selected federal roads is being carried out by the NNPC in order to sustain a smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
Kyari 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 roads 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 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.
“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 which Mr President has put in place is the game changer for our country. We believe that in the next 24 months, there will be 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,” he added.
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.
In his comments, 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.
“From what we can see, the intervention from NNPC has taken this project from 10 per cent to 40 per cent in a very short time.
“And we have achieved a lot and you can see that the construction is still ongoing and what they have done already is quality work which everyone has attested to. And they are ready to complete this project with the funding available,” he said.
In his remarks, the Oba of Ibereko in Badagry, Israel Okoya, stated that prior to the NNPC’s intervention, motorists spent between two to six hours daily on the traffic in the area, stressing that currently travel time of the road has been reduced to less than an hour.
Earlier in Niger state, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, lauded the initiative and called for closer collaboration among the all the parties involved.
Also, Nami stated that: “This road will facilitate trade, movement of people from one destination to another and ensure safety of lives and property.”