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Senate Rejects FIRS Opposition to Tax  Credit Scheme for Road Construction

Minister of Works Umahi explained that the Scheme has helped to get some critical roads rehabilitated within the last three years.

The Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday rejected the suggestion of the  Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS), urging it to frustrate the  N2.7trillion Tax Credit Fund required for  specific road construction by the Federal Ministry of Works. 

The Chairman of FIRS, Zacch  Adedeji, had at a meeting with the Committee penultimate week, kicked against fresh N2.7trillion requested for by the Ministry of Works through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPCL) for funding  of roads projects under the Tax Credit Scheme.

However, the Minister of Works , Senator David  Umahi faulted the argument of the FIRS before the Committee on Thursday, saying the N2.7trillion was  not a fresh request but funding gap incurred as at 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.

Umahi said, “Tax Credit simply means front loading of taxes of the affected agencies involved and using it for infrastructure development.

“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 solid road that can last 50 years life span.

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

“Only N650billion has been released through two batches for funding execution of the affected roads under the scheme, making the N2.7trillion funding gap very necessary.

“We need the fund for completion of roads already started under the scheme,”  he said.

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

He said, “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. 

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 N2.7trillion , should be released for completion of ongoing projects under the scheme.” 

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

Sunday Aborisade

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