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2020 Finance Bill passes second reading in Senate



The Senate on Wednesday passed for second reading the “Finance Bill” aimed at reforming extant fiscal policies for economic growth.

The bill seeks to amend the Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Tertiary Education Trust Fund establishment Act among others .

The consideration of the bill for second reading followed the presentation of the lead debate at plenary by Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya (APC Kebbi).

Yahaya, leading debate on the general principles of the bill, said the bill among other objectives sought to reform extant fiscal policies to respond to the economic and revenue challenges caused by decline in international oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the bill also sought to reform extant fiscal policies to prioritise job creation, economic growth, socio-economic development, domestic revenue mobilisation to foster closer coordination with monetary and trade policies.

Yahaya said the bill would also provide fiscal relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two consecutive years of assessment and also reform commencement and cessation rules for small businesses.

The lawmaker said the bill would provide a boost to small and medium scale enterprises by reducing their tax burden.

He said the bill, when amended, would replace existing tax incentives with more targeted incentives to stimulate economic activities in capital market and infrastructure sectors.

According to him, if Nigerian government is determined to generate sufficient revenue to finance its numerous projects, steps taken should include devising ingenious means of expanding the tax base and collection of tax effectively.

Contributing, Sen.Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi) said government must find a way of recovering funds illicitly acquired and stashed in some banks to support the revenue drive of the country.

Sen.Gabriel Suswan (PDP Benue) said there was need to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act to take care of the deficit ratio in the budget.

Sen.Adamu Alero (APC Kebbi) called for a more friendly ports to allow growth of business in the country.

On his part, Sen.Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu) appealed for caution on deliberations and passing of the finance bill.

He said decision reached on passing the bill must not be inimical to the interest of the people.

Sen.Yusuf Yusuf (APC Taraba) advocated the use of tax reform as a means of diversification of the economy and promotion of the local industry.

Other Senators who contributed toward passing of the bill for second reading are Sen. Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo), Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos) among others.

Senate also at plenary considered for first reading four bills.

The bills include NDLEA Act CAP N30 LFN 2004 amendment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Sani Uba (Kaduna Central) and Nationwide Toll Bill 2020 by Sen. Amosun Ibikunle (APC Ogun Central ).

Others were FCT Borderline Communities Development Commission establishment bill, 2020 by Sen. Musa Sani (APC Niger) and National Human Rights Commission Act CAP N46 2004 repeal and enactment bill, 2020 by Sen. Bamidele Opeyemi (APC Ekiti Central).