Buhari signs Exective Order No. 7 for infrastructure development

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed Executive Order No. 7 of 2019 on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.

Performing the ceremony in State House, Abuja on Friday, he explained that Pursuant to the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, 19 Eligible Road Projects are to be undertaken by six leading manufacturing and construction firms, located in 11 States, and in each of the six Geo-political Zones.

He said through this Scheme, companies that are willing and able to spend their own funds on constructing roads to their factories or farms, will recover their construction costs by paying reduced taxes, over a period of time. We shall ensure complete transparency in these set-offs.

He has therefore called on other local and international investors, as well as the State Governments, to embrace this roads infrastructure development Scheme.

He also personally invited them to submit viable proposals for more road projects, such that, in time, the scope of this initiative will cover all 36 States of the Federation.

Buhari asserted that the signing of the order is another opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of his administration to conceive, design, develop and deliver Public-Private Partnerships with notable investors so as to close the road infrastructure gap in the transportation sector.

He said: “Since I oversaw the successful implementation of the Petroleum Trust Fund roads development programme in the 1990s, various models have been adopted in addressing this infrastructure gap. In recent years, our reliance on annual budgetary allocations to fund roads development has been disappointing, given that our budget proposals have not always been passed in an expeditious manner by the National Assembly.

“There have also been revenue shortfalls that have hampered our efforts to fully fund critical projects. Furthermore, at the inception of this Administration, we met a significant backlog of local contractors’ debts, which we, as a responsible Administration, have undertaken to clear.

“We did so with a view to improving the confidence of construction firms in the Federal Government, and to confirm our ability to honour financial commitments for infrastructure projects, as and when due.

“Despite these challenges, this Administration remains committed to keeping our promises to deliver qualitative roads and transportation infrastructure to our citizens, communities and businesses. In this regard, we have consistently adopted innovative solutions to complement the annual budgetary spending on infrastructure.

“You may recall that on 25th February 2018, I approved the establishment of a Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, through which the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority is investing in critical Roads and Power Projects nationwide such as the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos to Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road, Abuja – Kano Road, and the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project.”

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The president pointed out that to date, N71 billion of funding out of which N2.5 trillion initiative, has come from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Dividend Account, the Federal Budget, as well as counterpart funds from China Exim, China Development Banks, and other development partners.

He added that N100billion raised by the Debt Management Office through the Sukuk issuance in September 2017 has been fully deployed by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for 25 critical economic roadprojects located across each of the six Geo-political Zones.

He also revealed thy in December 2018 government raised an additional N100billion for funding of another set of 28 road projects also spread across the six Geo-Political Zones.

He said: “Through these innovative funding mechanisms, we have been able to address the challenges of project funding, cost variation and completion risks that have plagued the development of the nation’s critical roads infrastructure assets.

“Today’s event marks another milestone in changing the narrative that has dogged past efforts at developing critical roads infrastructure nationwide.”

President Buhari charged the Minister of Finance to ensure that the Management Committee, which is saddled with the responsibility of implementing the roads infrastructure development Scheme, is promptly inaugurated, so as to enable the swift and smooth take-off of this landmark initiative.