In an attempt to boost the economy for the betterment of the nation, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari,on Wednesday approved the Finance Bill 2020, to support the 2021 Budget.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who made this known to State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting, said the bill was designed to bring about incremental changes in the nation’s tax laws.
However, she assured that the passage of the bill into law would not lead to increase in taxes in the country.
Other ministers who were at the briefing included the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; and the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu.
While explaining features of the bill, Mrs Ahmed said the intent of the bill is to ease tax burdens on some categories of enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises.
She also pointed out that some taxes had already been reduced saying: “In the last Finance Bill 2019, we reduced taxes from 30 per cent to 20 per cent for enterprises that have turnover of between N25million to N100 million.”
Mrs Ahmed assured that the situation in the country does not warrant increase in taxes, saying: “This is not the time to increase taxes. “
The bill will soon be transmitted to the National Assembly for its consideration and passage into law.
“Through this Finance Bill, what we are seeking to do is to make incremental changes to tax laws relating to Customs and Excise as well as other fiscal laws to support the implementation of annual budget. When Mr. President presented the 2021 Budget to the Parliament, he did direct that the 2020 Finance Bill will also follow to support the budget proposals.
“We are working on implementing current fiscal reforms in line with the Multi-year Medium Term Framework and over time we hope that this Finance Bill, that the fiscal space will be reformed on an incremental basis.
“So this Finance Bill for 2020 was developed as a result of a very large multi-stakeholder effort under Fiscal Policy Reform Committee that has several ministries, departments and agencies as members, but also the private sector, experienced tax practitioners and academics.
“A few of the provisions of the 2020 Finance Bill, the broad principle is to consider how we will have adequate macroeconomic strategies to attract investment, to be able to grow the economy on a sustainable basis, but also to create jobs as the immediate fiscal strategies to put in place accelerate domestic revenue mobilization in response to COVID-19 pandemic and the recent decline in the economy.
“In producing this bill, what we were inadvertently doing was amending provisions in 13 different taxes which include the Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act (CITA), Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act (IIDITRA), Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act, Customs & Excise Tariff (Consolidation) Act, Value Added Tax Act (VATA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act.