House Orders Investigation into Centenary City Project

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  • Double Taxation Avoidance Bill passes second reading
  • Presidency lauds passage of two executive bills

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives wednesday directed its Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to investigate the Centenary City Project to ascertain if it is being executed in line with the extant laws and regulations.

The Centenary City Project was embarked on by the last administration in 2014 to mark the 100 years anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria.

The resolution to investigate the project followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Golu Timothy (Plateau PDP), for alleged irregularities.

Golu alleged that the project, located along the airport road, has cost the government billions of naira and loss of thousands of hectares of land.

“It was to showcase Abuja as a modern city. Government was not supposed to be part of it. People were meant to be compensated, there is restiveness as there has been no compensation given,” Golu said.
The committee is expected to report back in four weeks.

The lawmakers also passed through second reading, a bill that seeks to eliminate double taxation for transactions between Nigerian and Spanish businesses.

The executive bill sponsored by the Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is named: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Domestication and Enforcement in Nigeria of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Spain and for Other Related Matters.’

Gbajabiamila recently sponsored a similar executive bill to avoid double taxation with the Republic of South Korea.
Leading the debate, the lawmaker called for expediency in the passage of the bill into law due to the crucial matter being addressed by the bill.

He noted that double taxation continues to mitigate against the inflow of foreign investment into Nigeria, particularly at this time when the current administration seeks to improve ease of doing business.
Hon. Yaqub Balogun (Lagos APC) said the bill and similar ones would improve the country’s revenue base, outside crude oil.

“Nigerian President does not need to travel to any country to attract investment into the economy. There are certain parameters that if put in place, will naturally influence the destination preference of foreign investors to Nigeria. One of such is this avoidance of double taxation treaties signed with the republic of Spain and South Korea,” he said.

The bill was referred to the committee on International Agreements and Treaties for further legislative inputs.
Meanwhile the Presidency had expressed appreciation to the House for passing both executives bills on avoidance of double taxation between Nigeria and Spain, and South Korea.

The Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (House of Representatives), Hon. Suleiman Sumaila Kawu in a statement said the House, by passing both bills, is in solidarity with the Executive’s quest for policies that would make the economy develop.

The statement added that it is the President’s believe that the action will guarantee a robust and cordial relationship between the executive and the House in the next three years.