Following the Federal Government’s approval of MTN’s N202.8 billion reconstruction of the Onitsha-Enugu expressway through its Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) scheme, the Chief Corporate Services Officer (CCSO) of MTN Nigeria, Tobechukwu Okigbo, has advocated for more public-private partnerships to ensure infrastructural development in Nigeria.

The CCSO, MTN Nigeria, made the comment at the Ehingbeti Economic Summit’s technology panel discussion on October 12, 2022, at the Eko Hotels and Suites. The panelists who discussed Driving Value through Tech by Positioning Lagos as a Top Destination for Innovators included tech heavyweights such as: COO, Flutterwave, Bode Abifarin; Founder/CEO, Kasi Cloud, Johnson Agogbua; Senior Special Assistant on Science and Technology to the Governor of Lagos State, Saheed Balogun; and Principal Program Manager – The Garage West Africa, Microsoft,  Soromfe Uzomah.

The 9th Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit, themed Lagos 2022- 2052: Charting the Paths to Sustainable Socioeconomic Growth, which was held from October 11 – 12, 2022, provided a constructive and engaging forum for members of the public and private sectors to share ideas that would stimulate socio-economic growth not only in Lagos but throughout the country, such as the RITC scheme.

Speaking at the summit, Okigbo said, “I suggest that the government work on creating an environment, put policies in place, and allow corporate bodies to invest in infrastructure. The more the corporate bodies do it, the less the government has to invest and the more money the government has to intervene in the specific places that need intervention.” The latest partnership between MTN Nigeria and the Federal Government is an example of how the government can facilitate the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in infrastructure that will propel economic growth.

Recall that in January 2019, President Buhari signed Executive Order 7 establishing the RITC scheme, which allows the private sector to invest tax liabilities in the country’s road construction, repair and maintenance. The scheme saves the government money while also ensuring that other critical sectors receive much-needed funding.

Participating companies will be entitled to claim a tax credit for the total cost (project cost) incurred in the construction or rehabilitation of an eligible road against their future Company Income Tax (CIT) liability until full cost recovery is achieved.

MTN Nigeria expressed readiness to reconstruct the Enugu-Onitsha expressway under the RITC in August 2021, and with this approval, the ICT giant will complete the dualisation of the 110-kilometer road.

According to a Global Competitiveness Report, Nigeria ranks 131st in the world and  31st in Africa based on performance in the provision of road infrastructure, with a score of 2.5 out of 7. Despite having the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria continues to struggle with improving its transportation system to meet its needs.