NASS Passes Finance Bill Two Weeks After Transmission
The National Assembly has passed the Finance Bill 2021, transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, on December 7, 2021.
The passage of the bill two weeks later was sequel to the consideration of a report by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos West-led Senate Joint Committee on Finance; Customs, Excise and Tariff; Trade and Investment.
The passage of the Finance Bill in the House of Representatives was sequel to the consideration of the report presented by the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. James Faleke.
“Report on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, Value Added Tax Act, Insurance Act, Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Act, Finance Control and management Act, Fiscal responsibility Act; and for Related Matters”, he said.
In his presentation, Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, said that the bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 Federal Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability by proposing key specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other relevant laws.
According to Adeola, a total of 12 Acts were amended under the finance bill which contains 39 clauses, adding that the bill seeks to promote fiscal equity, align domestic tax laws with global best practice, introduce tax incentives for infrastructure and capital markets, support small businesses and promote increase government revenue.
Adeola said, “The Finance Act 2020 was predicated essentially on having no new taxes and no new incentives due to the COVID -19’s impact on the economy as such it was structured across four broad thematic areas; Enacting counter-cyclical measures and crisis intervention initiatives; Tax, fiscal responsibility, and public procurement reforms; Reforming fiscal incentives policies for job creation; Ensuring closer coordination of monetary, trade and fiscal policies; and Enhancing tax administration.”
The Joint Committee, based on its observations, accordingly, recommended 5per cent Capital Gains Tax to be imposed on shares’ disposal transactions where gains exceed N250million in 12 calendar months.
It recommended that Gaming and Lottery Companies be taxable, as well as Oil and Gas Companies.
It underscored the need for Midstream and Downstream Oil and Gas Companies to be made liable to corporate tax without the benefit of tax exemptions for firms exporting goods to earn foreign exchange.
The committee observed that doing so would prevent Double-Dipping by Gas Utilisation Companies such that they cannot claim both (1) 3-year Tax Holidays; as well as (2) Petroleum Profit Tax Act Incentives or (3) pioneer tax holidays under IDITRA.
The Joint Committee advocated for qualifying Capital Expenditure rules for small and pioneer companies, to prevent double-dipping by mandating that companies cannot deduct qualifying Capital Expenditure to reduce their taxable profits where the relevant qualifying Capital Expenditure is used to generate tax-exempt income.
It sought more powers for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect NPTF levies on Nigerian companies on behalf of the fund and to streamline tax levy collection from Nigerian companies in line with President Buhari administration’s ease of doing business reforms.
The Joint Committee also harped on the need for the Federal Government to ensure that FIRS deploys both proprietary and third-party tech applications to collect information from taxpayers, enhance confidentiality and non-disclosure and to enable them to investigate tax evasion and other crimes and sanction non-compliant taxpayers.
It further called for FIRS to be empowered to assess Non-Resident Firms to tax on a fair and reasonable turnover basis on turnover earned from digital services to Nigerian customers, with a further mandate to appoint persons for the purpose of collection and remittance of non-resident taxes.
The committee demanded necessary reforms on securities lending transactions, minimum Tax for Insurance Companies and Companies in general, Taxation of Unit Trust Income, Real Estate Investment Trust, and Insurance Companies Capitalisation by NAICOM in line with Tax Equity.
It urged the government to mandate FIRS as Principal Tax Revenue Collection Agency to collaborate with other law enforcement MDAs in streamlining tax collections by enhancing Public Financial Management reforms.
According to the Joint Committee, doing so would reduce revenue leakages and better track actual expenditure to revenue performance in line with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), Fiscal Rules and other Extant Money Acts.
It also called for the diversification of Nigeria’s revenue from oil sector to other sectors to fund critical expenditures.
The committee while demanding an increase of 0.5per cent in educational tax, pushed for close monitoring of unfolding development and policies on VAT, tax incentives, projected increase tariff on tobacco, alcohol and carbonated drinks to fund vital expenditure on health, education and security, with a possibility of introduction of new taxes, tariffs and levies as the economy recovers.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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