By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday approved the 2020 Finance Bill; and will now be formally forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, explained that the 2020 Finance Bill aims to support the 2021 fiscal year budget; as well as engender incremental changes in the nation’s tax laws.
Ahmed assured that the passage of the bill into law will not lead to increase in taxes in the country, but would rather 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 that “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 explained further that “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.
“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.
“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 as the immediate fiscal strategies to put in place accelerate domestic revenue mobilization in response to Covid-19 pandemic and the recent decline in the economy.”
She also disclosed that in the Finance Bill 2020, small business owners will be exempted from the two per cent Education Tax they are currently burdened with.