Following the consideration of a report of its Committee on Finance, the Senate on Thursday passed President Muhammadu Buhari’s Finance Bill, 2019 to amend Nigeria’s tax laws.
The Acts amended in the Finance Bill include Companies Income Tax Act, Cap C21 2004 (as amended to date); Value Added Tax Act, Cap VI, LHN 2007 (as amended), and Customs and Excise Tariff (Consolidation) Act, Cap C49, 2004.
Others, according to Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, are Personal Income Tax Cap P8, LFN 2007 (as amended); Capital Gains Tax Act Cap C1, LFN 2007; Stamp Duties Act Cap S8, LFN 2004, and the Petroleum Profit Tax Act (PPTA) 2004.
Presenting the report, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said the Bill specifically seeks to amend the country’s tax provisions and make them more responsive to the tax policies of the Federal Government, among others.
He added that the amendment and passage of the Finance Bill would enhance the implementation and effectiveness of government’s tax policies, adding 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 aimed at minimizing the tax burden for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Senator Adeola further said 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.
He added that the bill, when signed into law by the President, would support small businesses in line with the on-going “Ease of Doing Business Reforms” and raise revenues for the Government.
In his conclusion, after the clause-by-clause consideration, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill’s passage would “ensure that we (National Assembly) streamline the tax system in Nigeria and get revenue for the 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 the 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 ordinary people.
“This exercise was done in a bipartisan manner, and that is what we are known for,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, a total of 11 bills scaled first reading during Thursday’s plenary.
They are: Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 185), by Senator Amosun lbikunle Oyelaja (Ogun Central); Public Health Institutions Trust Fund (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 188), by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai (Oyo North); Social Intervention Programmes Agency (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 190), by Senator Ndume Mohammed Ali (Borno South), and Nigerian Metrological Agency Act 2003 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 192), by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North).
Others are: Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act CAP N 96 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 193), by Senator Abdullahi, Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North); Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act CAP N90 LFN 2004 (Repeal 8: Reenactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 194), by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North-Senate Leader), and Civil Aviation Act 2006 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 195), by Senator Abdullahi, Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North-Senate Leader).
The bills which also scaled first reading include: Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Act CAP FSLFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 196), by Senator Abdullahi, Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North – Senate Leader); Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (Est. etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 197), by Senator Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar (Kebbi North – Senate Leader); Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill, 2019 (SB. 198), by Senator Sani Uba (Kaduna Central), and Integrated Rural Development Agency (Est, etc) Bill 2019( SB. 199), by Senator Oduah, Stella Adaeze (Anambra North).