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Finance Minister Lauds National Assembly Over 2019 Finance Bill



Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed

The minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has lauded the attention, speed and commitment with which the National Assembly has considered the Finance Bill 2019 that was submitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari as an executive document for the financing of 2020 budget.

The Finance Bill 2019, which has passed second reading at the Senate, was presented to the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 14 October 2019.

The remarks were contained in a statement that issued by the spokesman to the minister, Yunusa Abdullahi.

The Bill is designed to 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% to 7.5%.”

The Finance Minister had said finance bills will provide opportunities to incrementally improve the fiscal policy and regulatory/legal environment in order to further strengthen the nation’s domestic capital market, and ultimately ensure sustained and inclusive growth and development.

The Bill is expected to amend certain tax provisions and make them more responsive to the tax reform policies of the federal government and enhance its implementation and effectiveness.

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.

The Bill contains some changes to the Companies Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA), Personal Income Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act (CGTA), Customs and Excise Tariff Etc. (Consolidation) Act and Stamp Duties Act.”

She said: “It is our hope that the Bill will be enacted by the National Assembly as soon as possible to support the implementation of the 2020 Appropriation Act. This is expected to encourage growth and investment by the sector of the economy.”

The initiative, which most Nigerians say is laudable, with the proposed modifications to the fiscal rules around taxation are clearly aimed at creating an enabling business environment and alleviating the tax burden for small and medium enterprises.