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FEC approves N1.9trn to NNPCL to construct 44 roads under tax credit policy

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, approved the proposal for  the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) to invest N1.9 trillion in the reconstruction of 44 federal roads under the tax credit policy.

 Of this amount, N215.3 billion would be spent on South South and South East roads.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande,, who briefed journalists after the meeting said FEC approved the recommendation to invest in the reconstruction of selected federal roads under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy Phase 2 by the NNPCL and its subsidiaries.

He said: “So, the council approved the proposal by the Ministry of Works and Housing for the reconstruction of 44 proposed federal roads with a total length of 4,554 kilometers in the total sum of N1.9trillion.”

The approval is coming 15 months after the NNPCL expressed interest in investing in the reconstruction of selected federal roads in order to sustain a smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

President Buhari had on January 25, 2019, signed the Executive Order 007 which was the instrument that brought about the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, with the aim to unlocking funding from the private sector to critical road infrastructure in the country.

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The Executive Order 007 was designed to empower private companies to finance construction or refurbishment of federal roads designated as “Eligible Roads” under the scheme and recoup their investments through deduction of the approved total costs expended on the project from their annual Companies Income Tax.

The Road Infrastructure Scheme is a Public-Private Partnership intervention that enables the Federal Government to leverage private sector capital and efficiency for the construction and refurbishment of critical road infrastructure in key economic areas in Nigeria

Under the initiative, the private participants of the scheme provide the funds for the construction or refurbishment projects and in exchange, the participants are entitled to recoup the funds provided as a credit against the Companies Income Tax they are expected to repay. Under the initial programme, the NNPC is currently constructing a total of 1,804.6 kilometres of roads at a total cost of N621,237,143,897.35

A breakdown of the project funding showed that the North-Central geo-political zone, made up of Federal Capital Territory, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, and Plateau States, got. the highest chunk of N244.87bn for the construction of 791.1 kilometres of road

The South-South geo-political zone, comprising Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers state, emerged the second highest beneficiary of the NNPCL Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment project with N172.02bn for a total of 81.9 kilometres of road.

he South West, made up of Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo States, followed with a total allocation of N81.87bn for the construction of 252.7 kilometres of roads.

The NNPCL allocated N56.12bn to the North-East, comprising Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe states,the construction of 273.35 kilometres of roads under the scheme.

The South East geo-political zone; the zone is made up of five states, comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu,and Imo.states, got N43.28bn allocation for the construction/rehabilitation of 122 kilometres of road.

The NNPC allocated N23.05 billion for the rehabilitation of 283.5 kilometres of road to North West geo-political zone, made up of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Zamfara States. The road projects are being funded by NNPC and the equivalent amount is deducted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service from the National Oil Company’s tax obligations.

Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi said Council approved the procurement of 31 project vehicles for the hydrocarbon pollution remediation projects in Ogoni land. 

He recalled that in December 2022, FEC had approved some projects for Ogoni and remediation of some polluted site. 

“In view of the fact that we are going to inspect on a regular basis, experts from outside the country, there’s a need to provide project vehicles so that they can effectively inspect, supervise and monitor the remediation exercise. FEC today approved the sum of N1,354,016,250 in favor of Messers Mujav automobile Nigeria limited to provide 31 number of vehicles for the project. These include one 18-seater Toyota Hiece bus, one 30-seater Toyota coaster bus, they’re all supposed to be 2022 models. Then 11 Toyota Hilux double cabin four will drive also to 2022 model, diesel engine. Then 15 numbers Toyota Hilux double cabin four wheel  drives, diesel and petrol engine also 2022 models. Then one Toyota Landcruiser twin turbo 2022 model and lastly two unit of Land Cruiser V6 Prada for the projects. Only 31 vehicles were approved for the hydrocarbon pollution remediation project to ensure effective supervision of the project particularly delimitation sites.“

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Naira redesign hardships: We’ll reconvene before elections if… – Gbajabiamila

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Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House would have no option but to reconvene before the February 25 elections if the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, failed to address the hardships Nigerians face due to the currency swap policy.
A statement by the spokesman for the speaker, Lanre Lasisi, Mr Gbajabiamila said the House would continue to monitor the CBN’s implementation of the policy closely following the Green Chamber’s meeting with the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, on the issue.
Speaking during a town hall meeting with some ethnic groups in Surulere, Lagos, on Sunday, Mr Gbajabiamila said he was on the verge of signing an arrest warrant against Emefiele following his initial failure to appear before an ad hoc panel of the House.
“The House of Representatives intervened on several occasions. We summoned the CBN governor the first time and again, but he refused to answer, because we had many hard questions for him.
“It was until I issued the threat of warrant of arrest before he came, and I would’ve signed that warrant; it would’ve been the first time in the history of National Assembly that a CBN governor would be arrested. I would’ve done it.
“Many have argued on the independence of CBN, the autonomy of CBN. That does not make CBN above the law. The constitution gives the House the power to issue an arrest warrant against anyone, we can summon anybody, and that was exactly what the House was going to do until the CBN governor came.
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“So, we are watching, and we are monitoring very closely. If need be, we will reconvene the House, even though we’ve all been away for our elections. I will call the House back, if need be.”
Mr Gbajabiamila also said that amidst the ongoing hardship, the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has identified with Nigerians and faulted the implementation of the policy at this time, which necessitated the extension of the deadline for the collection of the old currency.
“On the currency swap, let me explain something to you. We are all very intelligent people. Many are suffering, we have paid your salary, and you cannot withdraw it; people cannot eat, what kind of thing is that?
“But I have news for you. There’s one man who is running for president of this country, and that man has courage and audacity. This man came out boldly and identified the problem, that the fifth columnists, in cooperation with the PDP are the ones trying to sabotage this election.
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“Many have said he’s talking about Buhari, but he told them ‘no, I’m not talking about Buhari; I’m talking about fifth columnists.’ If you don’t know the meaning of fifth columnists, go and check your dictionary. Fifth columnists infiltrate people, they even infiltrate families, otherwise how do you explain this type of policy?
“The president, being a compassionate person that he is, has asked for a few more days to look at everything that is going on and see if anything could change. We pray that things will change. If nothing changes, we will intervene again, but be sure of one thing: that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands with you and stands with Nigerians in their suffering.
“He was the first to shout that what is going on? He has cried, he has begged, he has screamed that people are suffering, what did the PDP candidate say? He said, ‘no, CBN don’t listen to them; you must not extend this thing; let people continue to suffer.’ That is what the PDP candidate said. He said it publicly.
“So, you have the tale of two presidential candidates: one who stands with the people and says this currency swap must stop; the second one says,’ no, it cannot stop, it’s a good policy. CBN, don’t listen to him. Let the people continue to suffer.’ I leave the rest to you to determine who is with you and who is against you.”
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Osinbajo picks holes in naira redesign policy, says scarcity of notes ‘is disturbing’

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Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo

Osinbajo on Friday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage financial technology companies (fintechs) as well as mobile money agents to address the issue of getting new naira notes across the country.

Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, the second man in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has described as “disturbing” the inability of Nigerians to have access to the new naira notes and the ongoing naira scarcity which has caused protest nationwide.

Osinbajo on Friday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage financial technology companies (fintechs) as well as mobile money agents to address the issue of getting new naira notes across the country.

Osibanjo, in a meeting with some fintech stakeholders, expressed worries over the difficulty in getting new naira notes and advised the CBN and commercial banks to address the situation immediately.

“You need cash to pay for transport. For instance, in Abuja, how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buy recharge cards?” Osinbajo said, according to a release by Laolu Akande, his spokesperson.

“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things.

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“It seems to me that banks must engage their mobile money operators. Fintechs with mobile money licenses and many of them have micro-finance bank licenses now and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs (as they are sometimes called) who are responsible for them and they can supervise themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”

Speaking further on the redesign of the naira notes, Osinbajo lamented the scarcity of the new notes.

“More disturbing is the fact that after depositing your old notes, there are no new notes, so people everywhere in the urban areas and rural areas simply have no money,” he said.

“There are logistical challenges that have to be addressed by the CBN and the banks, especially from the point of view of the average Nigerian and those in the hinterland who hardly use any electronic platforms.”

Osinbajo also said while there has always been a certain failure rate in online banking and money transactions, they have become even more difficult now with the increase in the number of transactions congesting the system.

 “So where in the past you used POS or any of the electronic platforms, you had maybe 20 percent to 30 percent failure rate, now because everyone is trying to get on those platforms, obviously, the failure rate is much more and the problems are much more pronounced,” the Vice President noted.

“We really need to make progress even as we make efforts to deal with some of these issues confronting us today,” he said. SR

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Senate gives Aregbesola 24hrs to defend N700m collected to monitor Edo, Ondo elections

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Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

THE Senate has given the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola twenty- four hours ultimatum to appear before it and defend the N700 million the ministry  collected from Service Wide Votes, SWV for the monitoring of Ondo and Edo Governorship elections.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide gave the directive to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry , Dr Shuaib  Belgore due to excuse by the Ministry that the N700 million would  be accounted for by the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps (NSDC).

According to the Committee, from the record, the money was released in two batches, N400 million for Ondo Governorship election and N300 million for Edo Governorship Election.

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This is contained in the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE), a document produced by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation which shows that  N400 million was released  to the Ministry of Interior for logistics and operational support in respect of forthcoming Ondo state gubernatorial election.

The second release read that N300 million was released to the Ministry of Interior for logistics and operational support in respect of forthcoming Edo state gubernatorial election.

According to the Permanent Secretary, it is the NSDC that will account for the money, we only make request on behalf of the NSDC.

Not satisfied with the defence of the Permanent Secretary, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhoghide  said that the excuse was  not tenable because the NSDC did not collect the money , it was the Ministry that collected the money.

Urhoghide who noted that the NSDC will only come before the Committee to account for the money requested personally from Service Wide Votes, said, ” NSDC has their own queries , they are coming before the Panel to respond to the one that bears their names, they have the money given to them directly.

“From our records, it is your ministry that will defend the expenditures not NSDC.”

The Chairman who  thereafter gave the Ministry 24 hours to defend the N700 million for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, said, ” You have 24 hours to make your report available to us, we must get explanation from you.”

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