Finance Bill presented to National Assembly by Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted the Finance Bill 2020 to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law in support of the 2021 budget.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who made this known at the plenary session of the House, said the president’s request was pursuant to Sections 58 and 59 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The Finance Bill, 2020 seeks to support the implementation of the 2021 budget by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other laws.

Specifically, the provisions of the bill comprise the adoption of appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies to respond to the economic and revenue challenges precipitated by the decline in international oil prices, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

It includes reforming extant fiscal policies to prioritise job creation, economic growth, socio-economic development, domestic revenue mobilisation, as well as to foster closer coordination with monetary and trade policies. It is also expected to provide fiscal relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two consecutive years of assessment, as well as reforming the commencement and cessation rules for small businesses.

The bill proposes measures to fund the Federal Government’s COVID-19 pandemic response and to enhance the recovery of corporate donations for responses to the pandemic as well as any similar crises in the future; amendment of certain aspects of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to align it with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and to enhance fiscal efficiencies by controlling the cost-to-revenue ratios of key state and government-owned enterprises.

The bill also specifies the need to amend the Public Procurement Act to facilitate the implementation of key procurement reforms previously proposed by the National Assembly in 2019. It proposes an extension of the scope of the Act to the federal judiciary and legislature to accelerate procurement processes, increase mobilisation fee thresholds, and provide for essential e- procurement reforms.

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