On Wednesday, Babatunde Fashola, Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had authorized MTN Nigeria to take over the completion of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway. 

The 110km expressway which falls under the road infrastructure tax credit (RITC) scheme would cost the telecom giant about N202.8 billion. 

Quick background to the story 
On the 25th of January 2019, Nigeria’s President Buhari approved the executive order 7, a road infrastructure tax credit scheme, that grants income tax credit to private companies and individuals who in turn provide funds for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in the country. 

The executive order 7 is a policy that has financed many road construction projects, including Obajana to Kaba, Apapa-Oshodi, Oshoki-Ojota Expressway, the Bodo-Bonni expressway in Port Harcourt. 

  • The Enugu-Onitsha expressway for many years has been in a deplorable state, resulting in the damage of vehicles and loss of lives and properties. 
  • The government came to the aid of motorists by approving a revised budget of N8.649 billion for the completion of the work on the Enugu-Onitsha highway. The route is now set to be completed by MTN Nigeria. 

Many MTN users have lamented an increase in the cost of data despite President Buhari reversing the proposed 5% tax on telecom services in the country. As inflation on basic commodities such as food continues to rise, the cost of using the internet has also spiked earning Nigeria a top spot amongst the countries with the most expensive internet. 

  • So, while Nigerians applaud the federal government for the construction of Enugu-Onitsha expressway, MTN Nigeria continues to face criticism. 
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