The House of Representatives has emphasized that the Finance Bill, 2020 will promote the ease of doing business in the nation, attract investors, and expand the wealth creation drive of the government as well as boost the national economy.
This emphasis was made during the debate, leading to the passage of the Bill for the second reading at the plenary on Thursday.
The long title of the Bill reads: “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, Customs and Excise Tariff, Etc. Consolidated) Act, Value Added Tax Act, Federal Inland Revenue Services (Establishment) Act, Nigerian Export Processing Zone Act, Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, Public Procurement Act, in order to make further Provisions in Connection with the Federal Government Financial Management, Public Revenue; and for Related Matters.
The Finance Bill 2020 seeks to support the implementation of the 2021 Budget by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other laws.
It amongst others intends to: “Adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies to respond to the economic and revenue challenges precipitated by the decline in international oil prices, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian economy.
“Reform extant Fiscal Policies to prioritise job creation, economic growth socio-economic development, domestic revenue mobilisation, as well as to foster closer coordination with Monetary and Trade Policies.
“Provide fiscal relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two (2) consecutive years of assessment, as well as reforming the commencement and cessation rules for small businesses
“Propose measures to fund the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Pandemic response and introduce provisions to enhance the recovery of corporate donations towards responses to the COVID 19 Pandemic, as well as any similar crises in the future:
“Amend certain aspects of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to align this Act with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as to enhance fiscal efficiencies by controlling the cost-to-revenue ratios of key State and Government-Owned Enterprises, and
“Amend the Public Procurement Act to implement key procurement reforms previously proposed by the National Assembly, in 2019. to extend the scope of the Act to the Federal Judiciary and Legislature accelerate procurement processes, increase mobilisation fee thresholds, and provide for essential e e- procurement reforms”.
Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa in his lead debate stated that the Bill seeks to bring the aforementioned Acts up to date with the realities of the times.
He argued that the amendments will strengthen the legal framework to ensure they meet international and global financial management practices.
On her part, Lynda Ikpeazu (PDP, Anambra) supported the passage of the Bill which she argued would promote the ease of doing business in the nation, attract investors and expand the wealth creation drive of the government as well as boost the national economy.