Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The 24th Virtual Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday approved the 2020 Finance Bill.
Minister Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who briefed State House Correspondents after the meeting, explained that the 2020 Finance Bill would support the 2021 fiscal year budget.
She also added that it was designed to engender incremental changes in the nation’s tax laws, as it will now be transmitted to the National Assembly for its consideration and passage into law.
Ahmed, however assured that the passage of the bill into law will not lead to increase in taxes in the country.
She added that the billwould ensure improvements in the tax laws while also reducing some taxes especially for 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 percent to 20 percent for enterprises that have turnover of between N25 million to N100 million.”
Ahmed assured that the situation in the country does not warrant increase in taxes, saying: “This is not the time to increase taxes.
Giving details of the bill, Ahmed said: “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 Bills, that the fiscal space will be reformed on an incremental basis.
“So this Finance Bills 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 thee private sector, experienced tax practitioners and academics. During the process, we received a lot of suggestions from different stakeholders but we had to limit what we could take because, we are by three principles – to adopt appropriate counter fiscal measures to manage the economic slow down, incrementally reforming the fiscal incentive policies of government and ensuring closer coordination between the monitary trade as well as fiscal authorities.
“A few of the provisions of the 2020 Finance Bills, 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…”