Dangote, Lafarge, NLNG, four others to construct 19 roads in 11 states
BY FRANCIS EZEM
Dangote Group, Lafarge Africa Plc, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited NLNG, and four other firms comprising both local and foreign are currently partnering the Federal Government in its renewed efforts to enhance infrastructure across the country, especially roads.
This is sequel to the recent signing of Executive Order 007 2019, by President Muhammadu Buhari, which allows private companies construct and refurbish roads across the country.
The other firms include Unilever Nigeria Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited. Under this arrangement, these firms are expected to build 19 roads, totaling 794.4km in 11 states across each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
In line with the Order, the two-year-old Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) has recorded a landmark achievement in accelerating infrastructure development for economic growth.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed,, who listed the roads at the signing ceremony, said the scheme is the outcome of efforts to think outside of the box and deploy new techniques to develop critical road infrastructure in the country.
The executive order is a Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme that enables the federal government of Nigeria leverage private sector funding for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects.
It was gathered that the order focuses on the development of eligible road infrastructure projects in an efficient and effective manner that creates value for money through private sector discipline; and guarantees participants in the scheme timely and full recovery of funds provided for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects through tax credits.
This executive order is one of the initiatives midwived by the Policy and Regulation Subcommittee of the Industrial Council, which is focused on implementing initiatives to incentivize investment; and reduce smuggling.
Industrialists in the council expressed their willingness to intervene in road rehabilitation and construction in their areas of operation in a thorough and transparent process that ensures the cost of construction/rehabilitation can be recouped, the Federal Ministry of Finance had conceived the idea. It promptly proposed the scheme for the Industrial Council to develop.
The Scheme is widely viewed by stakeholders who have been engaged in the public and private sectors as a quick-win in road construction and enjoys wide-spread acceptance as a means of accelerating growth within industrial clusters.
Meanwhile, President/ CEO of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, while speaking during the signing ceremony, stated that the impact of the scheme is huge because it will allow private sector to use their capital, their know-how and also their efficiency in terms of delivering roads in time and then Nigeria’s government will be saving billions of naira.
The Federal Executive Council approved the Industrial Council in March 2017 as a vehicle for partnering the private sector on the industrialisation agenda to address key hindrances to the growth of manufacturing in the country.
The council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to gross domestic product and establish Nigeria as the manufacturing hub for Africa by implementing initiatives aimed at accelerating industrialization by leveraging private sector expertise and capital.
Apart from the Vice President, who is the chairman, the Industrial Council is made up of Okechukwu Enelamah (vice-chairman, public sector); Aliko Dangote (vice-chairman private sector); Aisha Abubakar, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, (Alternate vice-chairman, public sector); and Atedo Peterside (alternate vice-chairman, private sector), among several other members.
Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who is one of its vice chairmen of the council, explained that, “the council’s mandate is to assist the government in implementing initiatives that will enhance the performance of the industrial sector through partnerships with the private sector.”
In addition to road construction, the Industrial Council is also facilitating the implementation of other infrastructure initiatives include the ongoing the deployment of 18,000 KM of fibre across the country to improve broadband penetration; and the generation of additional 4.2GW of power to the national grid etc.