N’Assembly to Curb Excessive Taxation

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  • Holds public hearing on finance bill tomorrow

Deji Elumoye in Abuja  

The National Assembly has hinted of plans by the legislature to amend laws aimed at reducing the percentage of taxes paid in some sectors of the Nigerian economy.

This is just as the lawmakers will tomorrow hold a public hearing on the Finance Bill 2019, which the Executive transmitted last month to it for approval. 

Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said yesterday that the two chambers of the Assembly had concluded plans to fast track work on the bill to reduce the taxes paid in certain sectors of the economy.

He cited the proposed amendment to the Company Income Tax Act, “which if eventually passed, will favour Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by reduction in applicable taxes with first four years robust incentives.”

According to him, contrary to general belief that the Finance Bill 2019 is about increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), the bill is a composite bill seeking amendment to seven Acts of the National Assembly, including the removal of taxes for some sectors in the economy.

Adeola said the bill, aimed at reforming Nigeria’s tax regime, would involve amendment of seven Acts of the parliament namely; Petroleum Profit Tax, Custom and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gain Tax.

“Studying the executive bill that was referred to my committee after passing second reading on the floor of the Senate, I realised that there are lots of ignorance and limited knowledge of the content and import of the Finance Bill targeted at not only increasing the revenue for the government but removing some conflicting and confusing aspects of our laws that had given rise to legal disputations in the past leading to huge loses of revenue for government,” he added.

This, he said, informed  why a public hearing on the bill would be held tomorrow to enlighten the people on the import of the Finance Bill as well as allow interested parties to express their views on the amendments to the various laws governing different aspects of the nation’s tax legislations and the need to clarify grey and conflicting clauses in the laws.

Shedding more light on the bill, Senator Adeola said “beyond the 2.5 per cent increase in the VAT, there are equally changes in the Value Added Tax Act 2004 that increased the number of items exempted from VAT to the extent that Nigeria may have the highest number of such exemptions in Africa and beyond.”

He added that it was high time Nigeria’s tax laws took cognisance of the new digital economy that was not in place when the tax laws were passed “as well as tax foreign based companies with local partners making profit in Nigeria without payment of taxes.”