Finally, National Assembly transmits Finance Bill to Buhari

The National Assembly has finally transmitted the Tax and Fiscal Law (Amendment) Bill, also known as the Finance Bill, to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for assent.

The bill, presented by the President to the National Assembly as part of the measures to shore up revenue to finance the 2020 budget, seeks to amend the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and the Capital Gains Tax.

A source at the Presidency, who was aware of transmission of the bill, told our correspondent that it was received on Friday.

“It was transmitted today (Friday). Relevant stakeholders worked all night to ensure that the Presidency gets it today before lawmakers will embark on Christmas and New Year break,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

The Senior Special Assistants to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Babajide Omoworare (Senate) and Mr Umar el-Yakub (House of Reps) could not be reached via telephone on Friday for official confirmation of the transmission.

El-Yakub had earlier in the week told our correspondent that he was out of the country.

When the Finance Bill is signed into law, Nigerians who want to open or maintain accounts with the Deposit Money Banks will not have to provide their Tax Identification Number to do so, according some of its details.

The Federal Government has also raised the threshold from which stamp duty will be charged for online transactions from the current N1,000 to N10,000.

Organisations that pay their taxes not less than 90 days before the due date may also get bonuses of between one and two per cent.

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, while explaining each of the amendments, also listed their benefits to the economy.

He had said, “Small businesses with turnover less than N25m to be exempted from Companies Income Tax; a lower CIT rate of 20 per cent to apply to medium-sized companies with turnover between N25m and N100m.

“Commencement and cessation rules modified to eliminate overlaps and gaps to avoid double taxation and complication during commencement; minimum tax provisions amended to 0.5 per cent of turnover and exemption only apply to small companies (less than N25m turnover), so non-resident companies will now pay minimum tax.

“Insurance companies can now carry forward tax losses indefinitely, deduct reserve for unexpired risks on time apportionment bases, while special minimum tax for insurance has been abolished.”

Passage and transmission of the bill by the federal parliament had been delayed due to a supremacy battle between the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Finance who were in charge of the document.

While the Senate had passed the bill on November 21, 2019, the House passed it on November 28. The chambers were forced to harmonise the versions they passed separately.

While a joint hearing with the Senate was botched last week due to a conflict between the two chambers of the National Assembly, the House had held a separate public hearing on the bill.

The Senate and House committees had planned to hold a joint hearing but the latter had boycotted the event, alleging marginalisation in the organisation of the exercise.

There were advertisements on television and in newspapers purportedly signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, and his House counterpart, James Faleke.

It was gathered that members of the House, however, learnt about the event through the advertisements in the media as they were allegedly not formally informed.

The Senate panel, however, went ahead with the public hearing, presented its report on Thursday and it was considered and passed same day.


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