Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has lauded the attention, speed and commitment with which the National Assembly considered the Finance Bill 2019 submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari .
The Finance Bill 2019, which has passed the second reading at the Senate, was presented to the joint session of the National Assembly precisely on October 14, 2019. The President forwarded the Bill 2019 for passage into law by the Senate pursuant to sections 58 and 59 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The objectives of the Bill, as outlined by the president, are to strategically: “Promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reform domestic tax laws to align with global best practices; introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; support small businesses in line with the ongoing Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and raise revenues for the government by various fiscal measures, including a proposed increase in the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.”
Speaking recently with a team of media men in Abuja on the Draft Finance Bill, Ahmed stated: “Going forward, the annual budget will always be accompanied by finance bills to enable the realisation of revenue projections.
“Future finance bills will, therefore, provide us with additional opportunities to incrementally improve the fiscal policy and regulatory/legal environment in order to further strengthen our domestic capital market, and ultimately ensure sustained and inclusive growth and development,” she stated further.
The Bill is to, among other things, amend the following tax provisions and make them more responsive to the tax reform policies of the Federal Government and enhance its implementation and effectiveness:
“Companies Income Tax Act, Cap. C2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (as amended to date): The Bill seeks to amend the provision of the Companies Income Tax Act to, among other things, curb Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) as proposed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and, thereby, broaden the triggers for domestic taxation of income earned by non-resident companies in Nigeria through dependent agents and via online market platforms.
The Bill also seeks to address the taxation of industries, such as insurance, start-ups, and the capital markets, evaluated by the Federal Government as critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy with a view to stimulating activities in those sectors and fostering overall economic growth.