Ahead of the Apapa wharf major road rehabilitation to be undertaken by AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, the drawings and design of the road has now been handed over to the Honourary Adviser to Group President/CEO Dangote Industries Limited(DIL) Engr. Joseph Makoju by the Minister of State for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Suleiman Hassan at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The development is sequel to the request Dangote Group made to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to the effect that Dangote group has decided to extend the construction of Apapa Wharf road.
Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola also confirmed Dangote Group’s decision recently while speaking at the Lafarge Road Construction Summit in Lagos.
In June, the federal government signed a N4.34 billion memorandum of understanding(MOU) on the road to be paid for by Flour Mills of Nigeria, AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Fashola said: “You’ll recall that we had an agreement with the Dangote group to rehabilitate and reconstruct the Apapa Wharf road using cement,”.
“They have since come back to say ‘we want to take the entire road network from Apapa, Liverpool, all through to Marine beach to Mile 2 to Oshodi to Oworonshoki and to the Toll Gate, a stretch of 35km so that we develop one solution to the port evacuation problem’.
Before now both parties had agreed that this is the route they will take and Dangote Group had written to the Ministry to confirm their commitment but what was left was the design consultant to complete its assignment in order to determine the cost using this solution to solve that road network using concrete.
Meanwhile, Dangote Group has debunked reports making the rounds that firm will derive advantage from a 10-year tax holiday after constructing the 35 kilometers Apapa to Oworonshoki highway.
Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, who spoke to newsmen in his office in Lagos noted that the company has never benefited from any tax waivers or credits except when it is industry-based and will also apply to all its competitors.
Mr Edwin said “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 posited that while the firm has volunteered to rehabilitate the Apapa road as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at no costs at all 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.
“The government came forward and said, ‘you guys are repairing the road. Good enough but this road 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 in three years in installments against our future tax, so infact, the government will not pay anything to us, we will only offset our costs against our three years tax, so government will not pay us a dime for the road and it is not as if we are not paying tax.”
Mr Edwin further said that his company had before now built a 24-kilometre concrete road at Ibeshe, Ogun State that cost N8.7 billion at no cost to the government and the Obajana-Kabba 44 kilometre highway which government contractors gave a bill of N16 billion but we told government that we can do it at N6.9billion. our company should be commended rather than being vilified by detractors.”