The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at the weekend assured that with the N621 tax credit scheme made available by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) as well as the Sukuk fund, many challenges of funding of roads projects will be mitigated in 2023.
Fashola spoke during an inspection of the ongoing rehabilitation of outstanding sections of major road projects in Oyo and Osun states, according to a statement by the Director of Press in the ministry, Blessing Lere-Adams.
The NNPCL is financing the programme through the road infrastructure tax credit scheme in collaboration with the federal ministry of works and housing and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The scheme is an initiative of that allows the private sector to get involved in road construction in exchange for a tax credit.
The minister promised the local contractor handling one of the roads, Messrs HMF Construction Ltd that when the 2023 budget and 2022 Sukuk are being considered, the government would be able to accommodate the N4 billion needed to complete the remaining part of the construction work on the road.
Also, he charged Messrs Kopek Construction Company, the contractor on the reconstruction of Ibadan -Ife-Ilesha Dual Carriageway in Oyo /Osun states to make some sections of the road ‘motorable’ during the ember months.
While inspecting the ‘dualization’ of the Oyo-Ogbomosho road, he remarked that there would soon be some opportunity to ramp up work when the rains begin to slow down.
“Relief will soon come the way of the road users ,though the rainy season has slowed down the construction works on the project, the earthworks will improve as soon as the rains subside,” he said.
He added that dualization of the road was being funded through Sukuk and the NNPCL tax credit scheme for roads, explaining that there wouldn’t be funding challenges in delivering the road at the time due.
Fashola said the importance of road infrastructure could not be underestimated as it affects businesses, the time spent on the road, adding that everywhere roads are built, the land value appreciates.
He enjoined commuters not to abuse the roads and maintain road speed limits when the roads are completed.
In the same vein, Fashola said that local contractors in Nigeria needed to be given opportunities in federal highways and bridges construction.
“If you don’t give local contractors the opportunities , they can’t acquire the experience and the equipment. I have pointed out some areas where I think the contractors can improve upon .
“They are not structural but aesthetics. So far so good the standard has not been compromised but to have some equipment for smooth finishing on some concrete works, they just have to improve.
“However, Mr President is committed to engage local contractors. That is the purpose for Executive Order No.7, i.e. Local Content and Contractor participation on Road Infrastructure Development,” he said.
The Onjo of Okeho, Oba Rafiu Adeitan II , who approached the minister during the inspection visit within his jurisdiction, lauded the construction work on the Iseyin- Okeho road.
The monarch pleaded with the minister to include the road that leads to Ayegun border from his domain in the project because of the economic importance of the border to his area.
Fashola was accompanied on the inspection visit to the various projects in Oyo State by the Director of Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation , Ministry of Works and Housing Folorunsho Esan , the Zonal Director South West in the ministry, Ademola Kuti and Federal Controller of Works , Oyo State, Kayode Ibrahim.