With the signing of Executive Order 007 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari to allow private companies construct and refurbish roads across the country, the two-year old Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) has chalked another landmark achievement in accelerating infrastructure development for economic growth.
The Executive Order is a Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme that enables the Federal Government of Nigeria leverage private sector funding for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects.
It focuses on the development of eligible road infrastructure projects in an efficient and effective manner that creates value for money through private sector discipline; and guarantees participants in the scheme timely and full recovery of funds provided for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects through tax credits.
This Executive Order is one of the initiatives midwifed by the Policy and Regulation Subcommittee of the Industrial Council, which is focused on implementing initiatives to incentivize investment; and reduce smuggling.
It is an initiative which time has come because as industrialists in the Council expressed their willingness to intervene in road rehabilitation and construction in their areas of operation through a transparent process that ensures the cost of construction/rehabilitation can be recouped, the Federal Ministry of Finance had conceived the idea. It promptly proposed the scheme for the Industrial Council to develop.
The scheme is widely viewed by stakeholders who have been engaged in the public and private sectors as a quick-win in road construction and enjoys wide-spread acceptance as a means of accelerating growth within industrial clusters.
In the pilot phase, six companies will construct 19 roads covering 794.4km. The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who listed the roads at the signing ceremony, said the scheme is the outcome of efforts to think outside of the box and deploy new techniques to develop critical road infrastructure in the country.
The six companies to construct the 19 road projects for the pilot phase, totaling 794.4km in 11 states across each of the six geo-political zones, are Dangote Industries Limited; Lafarge Africa Plc; Unilever Nigeria Plc; Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc; Nigeria LNG Limited; and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, President and CEO of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote stated that, “The impact is huge because it will allow private sector to use their capital, their know-how and also their efficiency in terms of delivering roads in time and the Nigerian government will be saving billions of naira.”
The Federal Executive Council approved the Industrial Council in March 2017 as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector on the industrialisation agenda to address key hindrances to the growth of manufacturing in the country.
The Council, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to Gross Domestic Product and establish Nigeria as the manufacturing hub for Africa by implementing initiatives aimed at accelerating industrialization by leveraging private sector expertise and capital.
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who is one of its vice chairmen, explained that, “The Council’s mandate is to assist the government in implementing initiatives that will enhance the performance of the industrial sector through partnerships with the private sector.”
The leadership of the Industrial Council consists of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (Chairman); Mr Enelamah (Vice-Chairman, (Public Sector); Aliko Dangote (Vice-Chairman Private Sector); Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Public Sector); and Atedo Peterside (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Private Sector).
Other infrastructure initiatives which the Industrial Council is facilitating their implementation include the ongoing the deployment of 18,000 KM of fibre across the country to improve broadband penetration; and the generation of additional 4.2GW of power to the National grid