In order to provide more clarity on the Finance Act 2020, a group, Joint Minds International, JMI, has gathered professionals in the tax environment to discuss and demystify the Act.
This has followed the issue of misconceptions and vagueness that surrounds the Act which they said may threaten its objectives.
The gathering had tax pundits from the public and private sectors, as well as members of the professions, including accountants and students.
Speaking on the theme of the seminar, “Finance Act and The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria”, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, reiterated the gains of the bill to improve the ease of doing business and attract more investments into the country.
While breaking down the amendments in the Act, Nami said it comes with juicy incentives, which has also taken care of discriminatory taxes.
He said, “With the amended Act, companies with less than N25 million turnover will now pay tax at zero per cent; also, companies no longer need to pay provisional tax that used to be there; the changes also allowed that bonus be given to companies that pay their tax 90 days before the due date; the special minimum tax for insurance has also been abolished while the new Act also gives room for incentives that will drive investment in the real estate.”
In his presentation on “Finance Act 2020 and the Nigerian Business Environment,” the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, acknowledged the impact of the amendment on small businesses, adding that majority of the incentives are targeted at small and medium enterprises, SMEs.
He, however, urged government to see to formalising small businesses through the tax Identification Number, TIN.
He added, “Government should provide the SMEs with incentives like Export Expansion Grant and Pioneer Incentives Schemes. When this happens, the index of financial inclusion will rise and many more SMEs can have access to finance once they become formal.”
In her remark during a panel discussion, Chairperson of Society of Women in Taxation, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Titilayo Fowokan pointed out that although the Finance Act has helped Nigeria’s ease of doing business ranking to move up to 131, but government still needs to align the development with revenue mobilisation and create conducive environment for business to thrive.
Earlier, the Lead Doyen of JMI, Tobi Abiola, lauded government’s efforts at revisiting the bill 20 years after its introduction.
He added that the bill would change the face of taxation in the country and urged the authority to continuously work on it to be able to accommodate necessary adjustments.