By Bennett Oghifo
The Federal Government has said the N15 billion tax credit advanced by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will boost the reconstruction of the Lagos-Badagry highway.
The Director of South West Federal Highways, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, said this recently during an inspection of the third section of the Lagos-Badagry highway project which stretches from Agbara to the border of Seme and which is overseen by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
The tax credit advanced by the NNPC is one of the funding arrangements that the federal government uses for infrastructure development across the country.
The first company to use the tax credit was Dangote Industries Group, and in December last year the Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NNPC Ltd of N621 billion to finance the construction of 21 critical routes across the country. Lagos-Badagry is one of them.
The Federal Government uses the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme Order of 2018, with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) being managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the SUKUK Fund for road development and management.
Regarding the redevelopment of the Lagos-Badagry highway, Kuti said about 17 kilometers had been completed on various sections of the lane towards Badagry, while measures were underway to further accelerate the pace of construction.
“So far, NNPC funds have brought a lot of relief to this work. We were able to pay some of the outstanding invoices for the certified work that was done. So our number four certificate was paid for by NNPC.
“That’s why you see this huge progress that is being made on this road. NNPC funding for this work is around 15 billion naira but we have been assured that the government will not stop funding” , did he declare.
Kuti said the project was about 25% complete and expressed hope that continued government funding would enable the project to be about 80% complete within a year.
He said the contract was awarded in 2018 but due to funding constraints, actual construction started between 2020 and 2021 after SUKUK funding arrived, and now the NNPC tax credit scheme.
“Since December 2021 and this year 2022, this project has been placed under the federal government’s tax credit initiative which is sponsored and funded by NNPC.
“We are here to see the progress that has been made so far on this road. This road is very sensitive to the federal government.
“Of the 21 critical roads funded by NNPC, we have two in the South West and the Lagos-Badagry highway is one of them,” he said.
Kuti explained that from Agbara to Badagry there are about 46 kilometers, adding that the road has reached final layers on several portions, including the community axis of Ibereko.
He said the progress of works has reduced travel time and had a positive impact on Lagos residents using the highway while improving trade on the axis.
He said over 300 cement trucks, over 30,000 aggregate trucks and over 131 diesel trucks were used on the project which employed over 500 people at the construction site.
Speaking on the construction, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, the lawmaker representing Badagry in the House of Representatives, urged the federal government to continue funding the project so that the work is completed on time.
According to the legislator, there have been huge changes in the pace of work on the road in recent months.
“I’m sure if it continues like this by December this year, residents and people passing through the highway will have reason to smile and give the government more thanks.
“I appeal to the residents to cooperate with the construction workers so that the project continues smoothly,” he said.
Also speaking, Oba Israel Okoya, the Onibereko of Ibereko land, said in the past that locals spend between five and six hours from Badagry to Mile 2 in Lagos.
“But today we thank the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Raji Fashola for the tremendous changes we have seen on the road.
“We want to implore the government to continue their good work so that the project will be completed next year,” he said.
Mr. Abdulsalam Ashade, Coordinator of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYC) Olorunda LCDA urged the Federal Government to construct pedestrian bridges for residents crossing the road.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has called on the people of Lagos to protect the road drains and other infrastructure from all forms of abuse and damage.
Fashola made the call during an inspection tour of the ongoing Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki highway reconstruction project in Lagos.
He said Nigerians should own the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki highway and other projects, and put an end to all forms of road abuse.
The Minister spoke out against the dumping of waste into sewers from the ongoing project and others across the state, seeking support from residents for proper waste disposal.
Fashola said the federal government is including the beautification of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki road construction project, as part of the Lagos bridge protection measures.
He said people were conducting various forms of businesses and activities below decks that caused fires and various other degrees of damage to infrastructure because they saw unmanned areas and occupied them.
The minister said the beautification was included in the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki highway project to both provide aesthetics and protect the road, bridges and the environment.
While inspecting the beautification under the Liverpool Bridge in Apapa, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr. Olukayode Popoola briefed the Minister on the progress of the construction of a leisure/relaxation facility under the bridge.
Popoola, alongside a consultant, explained how the design accommodated concrete stalls for a fish market where people come straight from the pier.
The Liverpool Roundabout/Bridge is the start of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway Reconstruction Project.
Fashola said Apapa was sporting a new look with the construction of a garden under Liverpool Bridge to deter unauthorized people from occupying the space.
He said the government was also considering relocating car dealerships around the Berger/Mile 2 axis to stop the trend of selling cars on the roadsides.