The Senate on Thursday passed the Executive Finance Bill 2019, which seeks amendments of Nigeria’s tax laws, even as 11 other fiscal-oriented bills scale first reading in the upper chamber.
The passage of the Finance Bill 2019 was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Finance.
While presenting the committee’s report, the Chairman, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said the Bill specifically sought to amend Nigeria’s tax provisions and make them more responsive to the tax policies of the Federal Government, among other things.
The lawmaker pointed out that the amendment and passage of the Finance Bill would enhance the implementation and effectiveness of government’s tax policies.
According to him, the initiative to reform the tax system and the proposed modifications to the fiscal rules around taxation are aimed at creating an enabling business environment, particularly by minimizing the tax burden for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The Acts amended in the Finance Bill are the Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act, Cap C21 2004 (as amended to date); Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Cap VI, LFN 2007 as amended, and Customs and Excise Tariff (Consolidation) Act, Cap C49, 2004.
Others include the Personal Income Tax (PIT) Act Cap P8, LFN 2007 (as amended); Capital Gains Tax (CTG) Act Cap C1, LFN 2007; Stamp Duties Act Cap S8, LFN 2004, and the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) Act 2004.
Senator Adeola said further that the Finance Bill as amended would promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation, as well as introduce tax incentives for investment in infrastructure and capital markets.
In addition, he expressed optimism that the bill, when signed into law, would support small businesses in line with the on-going “Ease of Doing Business Reforms” and raise revenues for the government.
In his remarks after the clause-by-clause consideration, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill’s passage by the Senate was intended “to ensure that we (National Assembly) streamline the tax system in Nigeria and get revenue for government to provide services and infrastructure to the citizens of this country.
“What we have done is very significant because this is to ensure we not only have credible and reliable sources of funding for the 2020 Budget, but also for subsequent activities of government.
“The revenue generating agencies will have to sit up. The National Assembly, particularly the Senate, will be mounting a lot of oversight on the revenue generating agencies. If they have targets, we must ensure they meet these targets.
“What we intend to do is to engage the revenue generating agencies on a quarterly basis to evaluate their performance on revenue generation, and to identify if there are challenges and how we can achieve better outcomes.
“I believe what we have done is not to put tax burdens on the ordinary people. What we have done is to create more revenues to provide services and infrastructure for Nigerians, including the ordinary people. This exercise was done in a bi-partisan manner, and that is what we are known for,” Lawan added.
Meanwhile, a total of eleven bills scaled first reading during Thursday’s plenary.
The bills are, the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 185); Public Health Institutions Trust Fund (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 188); Social Intervention Programmes Agency (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 190); Nigerian Metrological Agency Act 2003 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 192); and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act CAP N 96 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 193); Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act CAP N90 LFN 2004 (Repeal 8: Reenactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 194).
Others include the Civil Aviation Act 2006 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 195); the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Act CAP FSLFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 196); Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (Est. etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 197); Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill, 2019 (SB. 198); and Integrated Rural Development Agency (Est, etc) Bill 2019( SB. 199).