Builder Chucks Omeife, former President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), is of the opinion that Glo chairman will deliver a good road going by the proposal extended to his firm under the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit (RITC) to construct Lagos-Otta-Idiroko road. DAYO AYEYEMI reports.
What is your take on the Federal Government Infrastructure Tax Credit initiative?
The idea of tax credit is a good initiative especially when they are done for critical infrastructures like roads, power etc. The road tax credit that was granted Dangote in lieu of the Lagos-Oshodi road construction was very apt given the dilapidating nature of that road. My concern however was to confirm government involvement in the close monitoring and supervision of the road to fulfill all requirements in respect of standard and specifications.
Let’s not forget that tax credit is not a favour done by Dangote or any other company but an agreement to reduce its tax burden by an amount which will be utilized for funding the road project. I expect that since Dangote is not a construction outfit , the design , specifications and quality would have been provided by the government agreed upon by both parties . In this case l am not sure of the modalities for the conceptualization and execution of the proposed project. If and when the initiative is properly managed, it could result to a win-win situation for both the government and Dangote translating into good for the people .
There is also the proposed Glo Tax Credit for Lagos-Otta-Idiroko project. Do you think the company will be able to deliver the project?
In respect to the proposal of extending the Tax credit to Glo/ Mike Adenuga for the Lagos-Otta-Idiroko road , l think the idea is a good one but government must be involved both in the conceptualization, execution and monitoring of the project for value enhancement for the people. Glo is not a construction company neither is Mike Adenuga a contractor hence government must set necessary standards for the road and ensure that whoever is the contractor to be engaged goes through due diligence and meets the prescribed quality and specifications. This is the only way such initiative will not be compromised and government and people shortchanged and loose out.
What do you expect?
I expect however, given the antecedent of the Glo chairman and the high-tech company he is running that works on quality and precision, he should be able to deliver a good road project that will endure, just that government like l said must be involved from conceptualization, design, specifications, contractor engagement, execution and supervision/monitoring.
Once the amount involved in the tax credit has been agreed on for the road project, typically, government must set up the process, manage the process and deliver the project accordingly.
Road construction is a highly technical and specialised work especially when we talk of good roads that can endure for between 25 and 50 years. Tax credit amounts can be arrived at from the reduction in tax burden compared to actual that should have been paid. Glo and government can work together to utilize the amount to deliver a good project, meeting all standard and adhering to specifications that will ensure good delivery.
The conceptualization and delivery must not be left in the hands of companies to avoid cutting corners and shoddy works.
What is your general advice?
Very important in this initiative is that the company enjoying the tax credit must not turn contractor overnight if that is not their primary business. They must as matter of quality engage a road construction company whose engagement would have been superintended by both government and Glo. I think at this point government should have an upper hand in the process to ensure value added on the project and it’s delivery.
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