The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the proposal for Dangote Construction Company to use cement to build a section of the Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
Fashola said the company would be executing the road project in exchange for some tax remissions.
He said: “The memo presented to council for consideration seeks to take benefits of the existing policy and regulation.
“It seeks to take benefits of tax policies, tax laws for the purpose of using them to drive infrastructure development renewal.
“So, we presented a proposal by one of the subsidiaries of Dangote group, a construction company, for the construction of a section of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road.
“Specifically, the section between Obajana-Kabba Road using cement as demonstrative of how perhaps we should continue to build, going forward in order to reduce maintenance on the road and the company proposing to fund the construction of that section of the road in exchange for some tax remissions.”
According to the minister, companies are ordinarily supposed to pay income tax, but there are existing policies in the nation’s laws which enable government to consider and give taxes incentives.
Fashola, therefore, stated that the council’s approval for the construction of the section of the road was meant to address the increasing cases of road accidents occasioned by increased heavy traffic in the area.
He said: “So, is a total economy policy which the Council considered and approved because it gives support to industry.
“It enables us take benefit of our tax law to renew infrastructure at a time where we are really challenged for resources to finance all our routes.
“It also enables us to save lives by quickly and urgently rebuilding that road so that other commuters who also depend on that road for their livelihood would also benefit from the road.
“It is important to stress that this is not a Dangote only issue.
“It is an existing tax policy that corporate or individual that makes investment on the infrastructure of a public nature should have.”
The minister further explained that government would continue to promote economic policy that would stimulate investment in infrastructure renewal or in any other area that “government feels it needs private sector to compliment its efforts in such area.
“So, the detail is about 30 per cent income tax obligation spread over time.
“It doesn’t mean they won’t pay tax.
“They will continue to pay their tax obligation, but they will get remission for making this investment because ultimately the road doesn’t belong to them but to government and is for the benefits of Nigerians.
|So, it is like credit advance to government.”
Also briefing the correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, said the Council approved a draft bill on Financial Payment and Settlement System.
Malami said the bill was meant to enhance transparency and financial discipline in all monetary dealings by the Federal Government.
In his contribution, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said government was doing all it could to cushion the effect of the hike in pump price of fuel.
Mohammed stated the 2016 budget had made adequate provision for palliative measures to address the possible hardship arising from the increase in the fuel price.
Mohammed particularly noted that the N5.5 billion set aside for school feeding programme would trigger agricultural revolution in the country.
According to him, many Nigerians will go into farming activities to meet the food demands of millions of Nigerians.
The minister dismissed the insinuation that government would jail any worker that embarked on industrial strike as a result of the hike in pump price of fuel.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said a 15-man committee had been constituted by his ministry to look into issues raised by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Ngige stated that the committee, which was given two weeks to complete and submit it report, would also look into the issue of the proposed increase in National Minimum Wage as being advocated by the NLC.
Ngige, who frowned at ongoing strike action by the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the NLC, said the action was illegal and against the injunction of the National Industrial Court, which ruled that the action should be suspended, pending the determination of the Federal Government’s suit against the NLC.
He, therefore, reminded workers of the implications of violating the court order, saying that six months jail term or an option of fine was awaiting violators of such order.