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FEC okays N309bn road contracts for Dangote as tax credit

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Dangote Industries has received approval of the Federal Executive Council to construct five roads totalling 274.9km at a cost of N309,917,717,251.35 to be advanced by the company as a tax credit.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday while briefing state house correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The mnister said the road contract, which was the second approved for ministry by the council, would be executed on concrete and would be the larger of such project in the country.
He said, “The second memorandum presented by the ministry was for the construction or the reconstruction, as the case may be, of five road projects in favour of Dangote Industries Limited, totalling 274.9km of federal roads, under the Federal Government Roads Infrastructure Tax Credit policy.
“Those five roads totalling 274.9km will cost N309,917,717,251.35 to be advanced by the Dangote Industries as tax credit.
“The roads, specifically, are Bama to Banki in Borno State for N51.016 billion with 49.153 kilometres; Dikwa to Gamboru-Ngala, 49.577 kilometres in Borno State for N55.504 billion; the Nnamdi Azikiwe Road, popularly known as a Western Bypass in Kaduna. 21.477 kilometres, from Command Junction to Kawu, in the sum of N37.560 billion.
“Others are deep seaport access road sections 1 and 3 in Lagos State, through Epe to Shagamu Expressway, 54.24 kilometres, that links Lagos and Ogun states, in the sum of N85.838 billion and the Obele/Ilaro/Papalanto to Shagamu Road, 100 kilometres in Ogun State, in the sum of N79.996 billion.
“Council considered and approved this memorandum to facilitate the construction of 274 kilometres of concrete roads. So, this will be the largest single award of concrete roads ever undertaken by the government of Nigeria in one award.”
Fashola explained that the award of the contract to Dangote Group was consistent with funding options.
“First of all, the award is consistent with our multiple funding options, which includes engagement with the private sector,” he explained.
“Secondly, the tax credit initiative was in existence in the last administration before this government but was not utilised. So, this administration has revised it, expanded it, and has used it to construct roads like the Apapa Wharf Road, the Oworonsoki to Apapa, through Oshodi Road, by the same Dangote Group.”
“The Obajana-Kabba Road, still the Dangote Group. The Bodo-Bonny bridges and road, which Council approved last week, through the NLNG.
“There was also interest by many other companies that are being reviewed. So, it’s not unique to Dangote. So, he’s the one who has applied and we’ve been in this process. So, this is the next batch of roads that they are taking up.
“They invest their money, and then instead of when their taxes come due for payment, they net it off. That’s the circumstance. This is not concession; this is tax credit policy; don’t let’s mix them together.
“The policy says that anybody who wants to invest his personal resources, and it includes individuals, in any infrastructure that the public will have access to, can do so under certain conditions, which includes applying to the Ministry of Works.
“The ministry evaluates, and the Minister of Finance chairs a tax credit committee because they keep an eye on how much tax giveaway in one year, so that it doesn’t affect government’s revenue performance, once we take on the investment.
“So, it’s the committee that then approves and says go ahead, this is good, this is how much tax we’ll allow per year, and if the company is satisfied, then we go to BPP and then come to FEC.”
The ministry was also granted the approval to revise the total cost of the contract for the construction of Michael Imoudu/Ganmo/Afon Junction Road in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Fashola said the government also considered and approved the request to revise the cost of the construction of part of Michael Imoudu/Ganmo/Afon Junction road in Ilorin, Kwara state by N204,411,926.13, adding that the original contract sum was revised from N1.691bn to N1.896bn and the completion period is now 12 months.

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Oil Prices Continue to Climb on Supply Disruptions As Brent Hits $78/1

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Brent crude futures rose more than 1% to above $78 a barrel on Friday, the highest since October 2018 and widening a weekly gain to 3.6 per cent amid global supply concerns following storms in the US that damaged facilities on the Gulf coast.

WTI crude rose for the fifth consecutive week, with futures up almost 3 per cent to an 8-week high of $73.98 a barrel boosted by growing fuel demand and falling US crude inventories.

Disruptions in US Gulf Coast production following Hurricane Ida and other storms have led to sharp draws in US and global inventories. EIA data showed US crude stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels to 414 million last week, the lowest since October 2018. Capping some gains was China’s first public sale of state oil reserves. State-owned PetroChina and private refiner and chemical producer Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totaling about 4.43 million barrels.

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Buhari: Five million homes to get solar power by 2030

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Nigeria is working on an ambitious energy plan including decentralised solar energy solutions that will substantially reduce the energy shortcomings by the year 2030, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The President spoke on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York on the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.

Spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement Friday night, quoted Buhari as saying, “Nigeria’s commitment to a just transition is reflected in our ambitious Energy Compact, which includes the government’s flagship project to electrify five million households and 20 million people using decentralised solar energy solutions.

“This is a major first step towards closing our energy access deficit by 2030. Nigeria’s commitment is also reflected in the development of our Energy Transition Plan, which was developed with the support of the UK COP26 Energy Transition Council.”

He called for support from developed countries to unlock the financing needed to accelerate a just energy transition for all.

“The focus of our discussions on transition must now evolve how we help countries develop detailed energy transition plans and commitments to mobilize enough financing to empower countries to implement those plans,” he said.

The President said the scale of financing required for Nigeria to achieve net-zero would amount to over $400bn across the Nigerian economy in excess of business-as-usual spending over the next 30 years.

He said, “This breaks down to $155bn net spends on generation capacity, $135bn on transmission and distribution infrastructure, $75bn on buildings, $21bn on industry and $12bn on transport.”

Buhari, however, said that gas would continue to have a big role to play before phasing it out, explaining that solid fuel cooking was still wreaking havoc in Africa:

He said, “As a global leader on the energy transition, it is imperative that I flag a major risk to development that stems from the current narrative around the energy transition, particularly on the role of gas and the lack of financing.

“Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has laid out our road map to reach net-zero and highlights the scale of the effort required, which includes the development and integration of renewables into current grid infrastructure at tremendous scale and electrification of all sectors.

“This is challenging for any country, especially a developing country. On our development objectives, gas will have a key role to play here for some years before being phased out.”

President Buhari noted that these plans must also take into account the provision of access to electricity and clean cooking solutions for those in Nigeria and around the world currently without access.

He also stressed the essential role of gas in addressing clean cooking challenges.

“Globally, there are 2.6 billion people who lack access to clean cooking – which is unacceptable. Even more concerning is that solid fuel cooking in Africa causes almost 490,000 premature deaths annually, making it the second-largest health risk in Africa,” he stated.

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States can’t collect VAT, it’s on exclusive list – Malami

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State governments are not empowered to collect value-added tax (VAT) in the country because it is on exclusive legislative list, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.

The AGF gave this position on Friday night in an interview with Channels Television.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has been at loggerheads with Rivers and Lagos State governments over VAT collection. And the matter already receiving the backing of some other state governments is current in court.

Malami, who said the collection of VAT in the country is under the exclusive legislative list, posited that only the National Assembly could make laws on VAT.

He said, “A lot has precluded the state from collecting value-added tax. One, generally speaking, as you rightly know, the issue of the value-added tax is an issue on the exclusive legislative list.

“And the implication of being in exclusive legislative list matter is that only the national assembly can legislate on it. The question that you may perhaps wish to address your mind on is whether there exists any national legislation that has conferred the power on the state to collect VAT. And my answer is ‘no’.

“In the absence of a law passed by the national assembly in that direction, no state can have a valid claim to collection of value-added tax.

“The responsibility, right and constitutional powers to legislate on collection of VAT are exclusively and constitutionally vested in the National Assembly and not in the state.

“Where the national assembly has not passed any law in that regard authorising the state to collect VAT, then it goes without saying that no state can arrogate unto itself the powers to collect VAT.”

According to the minister, it will be reckless for any state to go ahead to collect VAT, despite the court’s decision asking parties to maintain the status quo.

He said, “I don’t see any state perhaps taking the law unto its hands without allowing the judicial process to take its natural course and in breach of the prevailing legislation.

“I don’t see the states acting arbitrarily and setting a very bad precedence as far as governance is concerned with particular regard to the fact that the matter is receiving judicial determination.

“I can’t understand. I can’t perhaps bring that thought into consideration that I believe it could amount to a high level of recklessness on the part of any state government to be operating in breach and to be operating a lawless governance style as far as the Nigerian state is concerned.”

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