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NNPC Gets Approval to Revamp 21 Roads With N621.2bn Tax Liabilities

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NNPC 21 Roads

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is set to deploy some of its tax liabilities to 21 road projects across the six geo-political zones following the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, after Wednesday’s virtual FEC meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the NNPC tax deployment would not be a one-off payment but periodic and gave the projected commitment to the road projects as N621.2 billion.

The Minister said that the roads would cover a total distance of 1,804.6 kilometres, stating that there was an Executive Order 7, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, allowing private sector operators to identify infrastructure such as roads for which they would deploy in advance the taxes that they should have paid.

“You recall that I had briefed you here about the use of that policy by the Dangote Group on the Obajana to Kabba and Apapa to Oworonshoki.

“Earlier this year, there were five other roads, the Kaduna Western Bye-pass, the Lekki Port Road, the road from Sagamu through Papalanto and a couple of others like that.

“So, today we have another player; we have other interested players who are showing interest but we haven’t concluded.

“But we have another player who has shown interest and committed to deploying taxes and it is the NNPC.

“So, NNPC has identified 21 roads that it wants to deploy some of its tax liabilities to,’’ he said.

The Minister said that the instructive thing about the initiative was that it would help the government to achieve many things, including Ministerial Mandates Three and Four, which were discussed at the recent retreat.

He said that the Ministerial Mandate Three was energy sufficiency in electric power and petroleum energy distribution across the country.

According to him, the petroleum energy distribution is being impacted positively and negatively by the transport infrastructure, which is the Ministerial Mandate Four.

“So, NNPC has sought and the council has approved today that NNPC deploys tax resources to 21 routes covering a total distance of 180.6km across the six geopolitical zones.

“Out of those 21 roads, nine are in the North-Central, particularly Niger State; and the reason is that Niger State is a major storage centre for NNPC,” he said.

He said that NNPC’s gesture would facilitate petroleum distribution across the country as Niger experiences gridlock every year.

Mr Fashola said that the Niger governor had been complaining that his roads were being damaged by trucks.

He said that drivers, after damaging the roads with their overloaded trucks, would turn round to protest against the damage they had caused.

“So, they are nine like that in the North-Central; three in the North-East, two in the North-West, two in the South-East, three routes- the entire Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene road in lots one, two and three now, fully covered.

“Then, in the South-West, you have the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Agbara junction, and you also have Ibadan to Ilorin, the Oyo-Ogbomosho section.

“In the South-East, you have the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene in Abia and Akwa Ibom; so that is a major link; then you have Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot-Ekpene road again and so on so forth.

“So, in the North-West, it is Gadar Zaima-Zuru-Ganji road and also Zaria- Funtua-Gusau to Sokoto Road.

“In the North-East, it is the Cham-Numan, Bali-Serti and Gombe-Biu Roads.

“The road impacted in the North-Central, include Ilorin-Jeda-Mokwa-Bokani sections one and two; Suleja-Minna sections one and two.

“Bida-Lambata Agaie-katcha-Baro road and Mokwa-Makera-Tagina-Kaduna border in Niger State, Minna-Zungeru-Tegina road, and Bida-Minna road-all in Niger State; as I said, a total of 21 roads.”

The Minister said that the move by the NNPC would resolve the financing problems regarding the execution of the road projects.

He said, for instance, that the Aba-Iko-Ekpene road had an estimate of about N30.3 billion in it while the provision in the budget was N200 million.

“If you look at the Suleja-Minna road, Section 2, it has N25.76 billion to complete it; the provision in the budget this year, is just N100 million.

“So, with these interventions, all those roads will be fully funded; you don’t have budgetary challenges and financing challenges anymore.

“So, the council approved this as strategic funding for this road network.’’

Mr Fashola said that another memorandum related to the road was also presented to the council, with regard to a section of the Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja Road, the section linking Akpet Central.

He said there was a problem with the steel-reinforced drains on the road.

“Those drains were put there about 42 years ago and 86 of them have failed.

“We need to replace them now with concrete ring drains to allow water to flow; otherwise, the retention of water badly impacts the road.

“As a result of that, we had to revise the scope of works from rehabilitation to construction in order to remove all the old steel drains that are corroded and replace them with concrete drains, over 75 km of the road network.

“That required an augmentation of the contract by an additional sum of N12 billion; that memo was approved,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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EFCC Declares MBA Forex Owner Wanted Over N231bn

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MBA Forex Wanted

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Mr Maxwell Chizi Odum, the founder and chief executive of MBA Trading and Capital Investment Limited, otherwise known as MBA Forex, has been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A statement issued by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed this development on Wednesday.

According to the anti-graft agency, the self-acclaimed investor is wanted for allegations bordering on fraud to the tune of N213.0billion.

Members of the public with vital information that could lead to his arrest have been urged to make them available. His last known address, the EFCC said, was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“The general public is hereby notified that Maxwell Chizi Odum, a.k.a. Mba Trading And Capital Investment Limited, whose photograph appears above, is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an alleged case of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and money laundering to the tune of N213,000,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Thirteen Billion Naira) only.

“Odum is a native of Ikwerre in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State. His last known address is at 7, Odum Street, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Anybody with useful information as to his whereabouts should please contact the commission in its Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan, Sokoto, Gombe, Maiduguri, Makurdi, llorin, Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Port Harcourt and Abuja offices or through these numbers 09-9044751-3, 08093322644, 08183322644, 070-

26350721-3, 070-6350724-5; its e-mail address: info@efccnigeria.org or the nearest Police Station and other security agencies,” the statement stated.

Recall that about nine months ago, MBA Forex claimed it has been unable to refund funds of investors to them because of the actions taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The firm, which is involved in foreign exchange (forex) trading and investment in capital investment, said the banking sector regulator in Nigeria “suspended any dealings in our [bank] accounts.”

According to the chief executive of the organisation, Mr Maxwell Odum, “All other payment gateways we normally use for the easy payout of funds have also [been] blacklisted.”

He disclosed that this has made it quite difficult for some investors to get their money back from the company.

Mr Odum explained that the apex bank said it blocked the company’s bank accounts “to carry out some checks to ensure that we have been acting lawfully.”

However, the MBA Forex chief assured that those who invested in the firm would get their funds back as the “process has already commenced while some have already received their funds.”

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AfDB 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index Ranks Nigeria 21

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electricity in west africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s electricity sector emerged as the 21st best regulated across a number of key metrics, according to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index.

The 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index, an annual report, covered 43 countries, up from 36 in the previous edition, and assessed their impact on the performance of their electricity sectors. The index covered three countries in the North Africa region; 14 in West Africa; 6 in Central Africa; 7 in East Africa; and 13 in the Southern Africa region.

According to the report, Nigeria has an index between 0.600 to 0.799 which indicates a substantial level of regulatory development. This means that many elements of a supportive regulatory framework are established, although there are weaknesses that do not permit the regulator to have a strong capacity, legal and institutional structures.

Meanwhile, the Ugandan electricity sector is the best for the fourth consecutive year while other strong performers include East African neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Namibia and Egypt.

Among the 2021 report’s key highlights are that regulatory independence is one sub-indicator where African countries have room to improve: in 93 per cent of sampled countries, governments, and stakeholders exercise influence over regulatory authorities.

In terms of regulatory substance, participating countries scored lowest on the adequacy of their tariff setting and frameworks, as well as licensing frameworks when compared with best practices.

According to the report, the average performance of economic regulation has continued to decline since 2018. A third of countries surveyed indicated they lack methodologies to determine tariffs; another 40 per cent rely on tariff methodologies that do not include key attributes such as automatic tariff adjustment and tariff indexation mechanisms and schedule for major tariff reviews.

Speaking on this, Mr Kevin Kariuki, the AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth said, “The unprecedented participation of so many countries shows the commitment to strengthen the countries’ regulatory environment with a view to improving the performance of the respective electricity sectors”.

On his part, Mr Wale Shonibare, AfDB Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, commended the top-performing country.

“Uganda topping the rankings consecutively for four years comes as no surprise to many, as the regulator spends significant time on consultation and analysis, including regulatory impact assessments of key interventions and follow-through to ensure full implementation,” he said.

Outside stakeholders also viewed the report’s results positively with Mr Abel Didier Tella, Director General of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa, saying, “It is interesting that the utilities in most of the top-performing countries in the Electricity Regulatory Index are listed on their national stock exchanges, which requires compliance with transparency in information sharing and good governance practice.”

Since its launch in 2018, the Electricity Regulatory Index has highlighted aspects of electricity regulation that need reform, identified appropriate areas for intervention, and encouraged stakeholders to be proactive in addressing challenges. Since then, the index has been widely adopted by regulators and other stakeholders across the continent as a benchmark for the regulatory environment as well as for ongoing reforms.

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Housing Deficit: Sanwo-Olu Promises Developers 50 Hectares

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Sanwo-Olu VAT bill into law

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised developers within the state 50 hectares of land for the construction of housing units, as part of efforts to reduce the housing deficit in the state.

Mr Sanwo-Olu made the pledge on Tuesday at the opening of the second edition of the Lagos State Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibitions themed Lagos: 21st Century Real Estate Investment Hub.

In reaction to developers’ demand for land, Mr Sanwo-Olu said that the major problem was that a lot of them do not have the capacity they claimed to have.

“We can test you with 50 hectares of land to see your capacity and viability abound.

“A lot of people are holding on and speculating, but the real capacity is the ones that we want. Real people that are ready to hit the ground running are what we want.

“Once you are able to identify these people, I am saying to you here now, that we will work with your association and we will give you workable timelines so that you won’t turn us into speculators.

“Once you are ready, we would also be ready. This is your government that would make sure that we give you everything.

“I believe that the potential of this market is just starting, the potential is enormous, the potential is unbelievable,” the governor said.

Mr Sanwo-Olu commended the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) for its doggedness, noting that the agency was on the right path.

Reacting, Mr Bamidele Onalaja, Chairman, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter said that the association was delighted with Mr Sanwo-Olu’s offer and would not let him down.

“There is little land in Lagos and that is why we want to partner with the government. The government will give us land, we have the money and we’ll get the off-takers to buy the houses.

“It is going to be affordable houses to support the government’s initiative of affordable housing. We are glad the governor has promised us 50 hectares of land to start with,” Mr Onalaja said.

According to him, members of the association will not disappoint the government in its efforts towards reducing the housing deficit in the state.

“When the government partners with us, we will deliver and we will make the governor proud,” he said.

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