Senate Agrees With Umahi On Tax Credit As Minister Seeks N4.4trn For Roads

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Works Minister, David Umahi has secured the nod of the Senate on the N2.7 trillion tax credit to bridge the funding gap incurred as of January 2024.

Tax Credit simply means front loading of taxes of the affected agencies involved and using it for infrastructure development. The Chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji, however, at an interface with the Committee penultimate week, kicked against fresh N2.7trillion requested by the Ministry of Works through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for funding of roads projects under the Tax Credit Scheme.

Umahi who countered the argument of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before the Senate Committee on Finance said the N2.7 trillion was not a fresh request but a funding gap incurred as of January this year.

He explained to the committee that the Tax Credit Scheme has helped the Nation to get some critical roads across the country rehabilitated or reconstructed within the last three years.

“A very good example of it was the Apapa – Oshodi Road, reconstructed by Dangote Plc under the scheme which not only solved the problem of congestion on the road but provided a solid road that can last 50 years life span.

It is the same road infrastructure solution with the N2.59 trillion Tax Credits being offered through NNPCL offering but not well funded yet.

“Only N650 billion has been released through two batches for funding execution of the affected roads under the scheme, making the N2.7 trillion funding gap very necessary. We need the funds for the completion of roads already started under the scheme”, he said.

He added that aside from the scheme, the Ministry based on provisions made in the 2024 budget, has no concrete appropriations for road construction.

“2024 budgetary provisions for the Federal Ministry of Works which are slightly above a trillion Naira, are palliatives for road construction, the reason why the National Assembly should make substantial appropriation for road infrastructure across the country.

“In doing that, at least N4.4trillion should be appropriated for 100kilometres road construction per each of the six geo-political zones “, he added.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), said “Tax Credit Policy is a welcome initiative meant for exigencies being addressed and based on submissions made by the Minister, the N2.7 trillion, should be released for completion of Ongoing projects under the scheme.”

He however added that fresh implementation of the policy outside the N2.7 trillion should be halted for now.

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