MTN to rehabilitate Enugu-Onitsha expressway with tax credit

MTN Nigeria has announced plans to invest $1.5 billion to reconstruct the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, under the road infrastructure task credit (RITC) scheme, an arrangement that grants income tax credit to companies and individuals that provide funding for the refurbishment and rehabilitation of roads.

The CEO of MTN Nigeria, Mr Karl Toriola, made this known in the company’s unaudited results for the half-year ended June 30, 2021, published on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

The RITC scheme is a public-private partnership (PPP) intervention that enables the Nigerian government to leverage private sector capital and efficiency for the construction, repair, and maintenance of critical road infrastructure in key economic areas in Nigeria.

As is, MTN will be entitled to utilise the total cost (Project Cost), incurred in the construction or refurbishment of an eligible road as a tax credit against their future Companies Income Tax (CIT) liability, until full cost recovery is achieved.

Mr Toriola said the federal government and the telecommunications company have commenced discussions about the road project and that MTN Nigeria will invest N640 billion over the next three years to expand broadband access across the country, in line with the federal government’s 2020-2025 national broadband plan.

“2021 marks the 20th anniversary of MTN’s presence in Nigeria. As we celebrate this milestone, we are pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has approved our participation in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme,”

“This is in response to the Government’s drive towards public-private partnerships in the rehabilitation of critical road infrastructure in Nigeria. We intend to participate in the restoration and refurbishment of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

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“Conversations in this regard have already commenced, and further announcements will be made in due course.”

“In line with our desire to plant deeper and more permanent roots in Nigeria, we have also initiated plans to commission a purpose-built, state of the art MTN Head Office, designed to act as a central hub for our network, a catalyst for creativity and innovation, and a showcase for the flexible working structures that are driving efficiency gains in this new normal working environment,”

“Aligned with our wider commitment to environmental sustainability, it will meet the highest global environmental standards, demonstrating the role of green technology in our future.

“Following MTN Group’s stated intention to sell down up to 14% of its investment in MTN Nigeria, subject to market conditions over the medium-term, MTN Nigeria’s shareholders approved an equity shelf programme at the last Annual General Meeting. This will facilitate a process to increase ownership of the Company by more Nigerian retail and institutional investors.”, Mr Toriola said.

For several years, the 100 kilometres Enugu-Onitsha Expressway has been in a dilapidated state, causing immeasurable discomfort and dislocations to thousands of its users, such as constant breakdown of vehicles, accidents that resulted in several deaths, destruction of valuable goods and property, including foodstuff and other commodities.

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