From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The extraordinary virtual National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, received briefings on the proposed Finance Bill 2022 and resolved to update the draft with additional inputs from State Governors as the bill goes ahead to the Federal Executive Council.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said members of the Council were briefed on the main features of the bill by Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed. He quoted the minister as saying that the proposed Finance Bill 2022 is anchored on five fundamental policy drivers: Tax Equity; Climate Change; Job Creation/ Economic Growth; Tax Incentives’ Reform and Revenue Generation / Tax Administration.
She said the bill seeks to amend relevant taxes, excises and duty statutes in line with the macroeconomic policy reforms of the Federal Government and to amend and make further provisions in specific laws in connection with the public financial management of the Federation. Other aspects of the Finance Bill include: Chargeable Assets; Exclusion of Losses and Replacement of Business Assets.
For instance under Tax Equity pillar, all sectors of the economy would be brought into the tax net including Capital Gains Tax from digital assets, Cable Undertakings, Lottery and Gaming Business.
Similarly under the Climate Change and Green Growth pillar of the bill, there would be incentives for the natural gas sector and discouragement of gas flaring.
Under the pillar of Tax Incentives’ Reforms, there would be new deductions for Research and Development, and Investment Tax Credits; Reconstruction Investment Allowance; Rural Investment Allowance; Incomes in Convertible Currencies to be exempt, among others. Also the bill contains an amendment under Chargeable Assets stating that, “subject to any exceptions provided by this Act, all forms of property shall be assets for the purposes of this Act, whether situated in Nigeria or not, including Options, debts, digital assets and incorporeal property generally.”
According to the bill, these provisions clarify the basis for the taxation of Cryptocurrency and other Digital Assets in line with Government’s policy thrust of enhancing the cross-border and international taxation of growing e-commerce with emerging markets. By doing so, Nigeria will join the league of jurisdictions currently taxing digital assets, including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, India, Kenya and South Africa.
Ahmed further noted that extensive consultations have been done on aspects of the bill such as tax avoidance and tax evasion by introducing a general anti-avoidance route. She disclosed that in coming up with the bill, the Ministry of Finance engaged a wide range of stakeholders and elicited enough feedback especially through the work of a technical committee co-chaired by Special Adviser on Economic Matters to the President, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu and Special Adviser on Finance, Mrs. Sarah Alade.