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The Management of Dangote Group on Monday debunked a story alleging that the company will benefit 10-year tax holiday after constructing 35 km Apapa to Oworonshoki highway end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Speaking at the Ikoyi head office, on Monday, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, revealed that the company has never benefited any tax waivers or credits in its entire history except when it is industry based and same applies to all industry players.

He explained that while the company volunteered to repair the Apapa road as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative at no cost to the Federal Government, the construction of Apapa to Oworonshoki long highway will be done at 15 to 25 per cent less than the lowest bid.

According to him: “It is very painful when some people accuse our company of benefitting 10 years’ tax rebate from the government. There is nothing like tax credit in all these. We volunteered to construct the Apapa to Oworonshoki long highway at a cost that will be about 15 to 25 per cent less than the lowest bid on the road. We hope to get back our money after three years by removing the sum from the tax we are supposed to pay.”

He further explained that the company proposed to the government to reduce 50 per cent of the total cost of the road, from its proposed tax, on its first year after completion and 25 per cent of the costs respectively for two years from its proposed tax.

“…the government came forward and said, good enough your company is repairing a road that is very important to all Nigerians…is it possible to help us do proper road construction of 35 kilometers from Apapa to Oworonshoki? We advised the government to go for a competitive bidding and also that we will take it up at a costs that will be lower than the lowest bid received by the government. Since the government may not be handy with cash, we proposed that we will recover our money over three years in installments against our future tax. The reality is the government will not pay us for the construction, but we will only offset our costs against our three years tax.

It would be recalled that the federal government said it would give tax relief to private sectors that invest in road construction in the country. Speaking at the Road Construction Summit 2017 organised by Lafarge and Business Day at the weekend in Lagos, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said that there are a lot of possibilities that lie ahead when private capital comes into road construction under the tax relief order as proposed to be amended and complements government spending.

According to him, the government has just concluded an agreement using the tax incentive order to hand over the Apapa area comprising Creek Road, Liverpool Road, Marine Beach to Mile 2, Oshodi, Oworonshoki to the Lagos end of the Toll Gate on the Ibadan Expressway to Dangote Group.

Also, he said the government has signed an agreement with NLNG to construct the Bodo-Bonny Bridge at the cost of N120.6 billion with NLNG and federal government sharing the cost.

“We have identified 28 toll plazas out of the old toll plazas, on roads where construction work is currently going on, at which we propose to restore toll plazas. We have also concluded traffic surveys on 51 major highways and now have current traffic data on these roads and we can project vehicular traffic movement for tolling and concession purposes,” Fashola said.

Going by the recent second quarter GDP report, the Minister said, “With respect to construction and related activities, GDP in the sector had been negative since Q2 2015, but turned positive for the first time in Q1 2017 growing by 0.15 per cent and continued to positive growth into Q2 2017 by growing by 0.13 per cent. The reversal in construction has to do with civil works especially due to FGN capital expenditure.”

Chairman, Lafarge Africa, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun noted that with the federal and respective state governments grappling with dwindling resources, it has become crucial that the ecosystem of public and private sector players brainstorm on issues of funding, partnerships, design, and quality of roads in Nigeria, as for sure government can no longer do it alone.

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JUST IN: Manchester United sack Jose Mourinho

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Manchester United have announced the sack of manager, Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese was dismissed on Tuesday after a series of poor results.

Manchester United announced this on Twitter, saying, “Manchester United has announced that Jose Mourinho has left the Club.

“We would like to thank him for his work during his time at Manchester United and wish him success in the future.”

Details later…

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Youth Corper Docked Over Alleged £12.5m Internet Fraud, Remanded In Prison Custody

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The Enugu Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned Ogbonna Victor Chibuzor, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Enugu, on a five-count charge bordering on intent to defraud, and possession of fraudulent documents contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

Ogbonna’s arrest was sequel to series of raids carried out by operatives over the past one week in which several suspected fraudsters in their early 20s, alleged to be engaging in online fraud, were arrested having been found to be living a flamboyant lifestyle not commensurate to the means of livelihood.

Analysis carried out on the computer of the suspected fraudster revealed certain incriminating documents intended to be used in swindling gullible Nigerians and foreigners alike.

Further investigations disclosed that Ogbonna uses his e-mail address activitygeneral@hotmail.com to send unsolicited emails to his victims using fake or stolen identity to legitimise his nefarious activities.

One of the documents was addressed to one Alan Christopher of BG Group Plc, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6, Berkshire, United Kingdom, with a rider “Your attention is needed” and a second paragraph talking about a £12,500,000 (Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling) unclaimed contract fund.

Another document found with the accused was a purported “Contract Award Certificate” to one Michael Morgan of 101 Brooklyn, New York, United State of America, on “Directing and Fixing of Oil Spillage” in the Niger Delta signed by the Chairman, Contract Tender Board and Chairman, Legal Department of Chevron Nigeria.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against him occasioning his counsel E.O. Isiwu to move a motion for bail, which was opposed by prosecuting counsel, Innocent Mbachie.

The presiding judge, however, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N500,000 and one surety in like sum. The surety, he ruled, “must have a landed property in Enugu which must be verified by the Commissioner of Lands”. Ogbonna is to be remanded in prison custody until he fulfils his bail conditions.

The case has been adjourned to January 30, 2019.

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Presidency Writes UK Govt, Calls For Corruption Probe Against Ekweremadu, Uzodinma, Others

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigerian Presidency has said it has written the National Crime Commission of the United Kingdom, UK, to assist in the investigation of five senators with properties in the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

The Senators are Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Imo state governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma.

Others are Senators Stella Odua, Peter Nwaoboshi and Albert Bassey Akpan.

Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property SPIP, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, disclosed this yesterday at a news conference in Abuja to highlight some of the activities of the body in 2018.

He said: “The UK has passed a law that will also help us in Nigeria fight corruption and that is the ‘Unexplained Wealth Regulation’ which entails that if you have a property in the UK that is above $50, 000, you have to explain your source of wealth, and property here does not just mean a building but even jewelries.

“So, we have written the National Crime Authority in the UK asking them to investigate some Nigerian senators who have property in the UK and the Virgin Islands,” he said.

Obono-Obla added that if they are found culpable, they would be prosecuted in accordance with extant laws and made to forfeit such properties.

Obono-Obla, who is also the Special Assistant to the President on Public Prosecution, added that five oil companies are also under investigation for tax evasion and refusal to pay royalties to the Nigerian government.

He said: “the companies have not remitted over $1 billion to the government.

“A lot of oil companies are contributing to the economic challenges facing the country, denying Nigeria of royalties and also evading taxes, money that would have been channeled to the development of the country.

“Working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, we discovered that Addax Petroleum has failed to pay tax for five years and so they are owing about N700 million. Then, thanks to a petition we received from Femi Falana SAN, Mobil which purchased an oil bloc in 2001 for $2.5 billion dollars is yet to pay about $1.9 billion of that money to the government. We have commenced our investigations too”, he stated.

He said the panel was also looking at a petition involving a top official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC as well as against the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN under Govs. Chukwuma Soludo and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi with regards to debt cancellations to banks.

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