The Senate has passed the Finance Bill 2021, transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, on December 7, 2021.
The passage of the bill coming two weeks later, followed the consideration of a report by the Joint Committee on Finance; Customs, Excise and Tariff; Trade and Investment.
Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, in his presentation, said the bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 Federal Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability by proposing key specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other relevant laws.
According to the lawmaker, a total of twelve Acts were amended under the finance bill which contains thirty-nine clauses.
He added that the bill seeks to promote fiscal equity, align domestic tax laws with global best practice, introduce tax incentives for infrastructure and capital markets, support small businesses and promote increase government revenue.
“The Finance Act 2020 was predicated essentially on having no new taxes and no new incentives due to the COVID -19’s impact on the economy as such it was structured across four broad thematic areas; Enacting counter cyclical measures and crisis intervention initiatives; Tax, fiscal responsibility, and public procurement reforms; Reforming fiscal incentives policies for job creation; Ensuring closer coordination of monetary, trade and fiscal policies; and Enhancing tax administration”, Senator Adeola said.
The Joint Committee, based on its observations, accordingly, recommended 5 percent Capital Gains Tax to be imposed on shares’ disposal transactions where gains exceed N250m in 12 calendar months.
It recommended that Gaming and Lottery Companies be taxable, as well as Oil and Gas Companies.
It underscored the need for Midstream and Downstream Oil and Gas Companies to be made liable to corporate tax without the benefit of tax exemptions for firms exporting goods to earn foreign exchange.
The Committee observed that doing so would prevent Double-Dipping by Gas Utilization Companies such that they cannot claim both (1) 3-year Tax Holidays; as well as (2) Petroleum Profit Tax Act Incentives or (3) Pioneer tax Holidays under IDITRA.
The Joint Committee advocated for qualifying Capital Expenditure rules for small and pioneer Companies, to prevent double dipping by mandating that Companies cannot deduct qualifying Capital Expenditure to reduce their taxable profits where the relevant qualifying Capital Expenditure is used to generate tax – exempt income.
It sought more powers for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect NPTF levies on Nigerian Companies on behalf of the fund and to streamline tax levy collection from Nigerian Companies in line with President Buhari administration’s ease of doing business reforms.
The Joint Committee also harped on the need for the Federal Government to ensure that FIRS deploys both proprietary and third-party tech applications to collect information from taxpayers, enhance confidentiality and non-disclosure and to enable them investigate tax evasion and other crimes and sanction non-compliant tax payers.
It further called for FIRS to be empowered to assess Non-Resident Firms to tax on fair and reasonable turnover basis on Turnover earned from digital services to Nigerian customers, with a further mandate to appoint persons for the purpose of collection and remittance of non- resident taxes.
The Committee demanded necessary reforms on securities lending transactions, minimum Tax for Insurance Companies and Companies in general, Taxation of Unit Trust Income, Real Estate Investment Trust, and Insurance Companies Capitalization by NAICOM in line with Tax Equity.
It urged the government to mandate FIRS as Principal Tax Revenue Collection Agency to collaborate with other law enforcement MDAs in streamlining Tax Collections by enhancing Public Financial Management reforms.
According to the Joint Committee, doing so would reduce revenue leakages and better track actual expenditure to revenue performance in line with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), Fiscal Rules and other Extant Money Acts.
It also called for the diversification of Nigeria’s revenue from Oil sector to other sectors to fund critical expenditures.
The Committee while demanding an increase of 0.5 percent in educational tax, pushed for close monitoring of unfolding development and policies on VAT, Tax Incentives, Projected increase Tariff on Tobacco, Alcohol and Carbonated drinks to fund vital expenditure on Health, Education and Security, with a possibility of introduction of new taxes, tariffs and levies as the economy recovers.
Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers
***CSOs ask non ranking senators to move against amendments in court
Not up to two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.
Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.
With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first term senators are now prohibited from contesting for the position of presiding officers of the Red Chambers.
Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended).”
Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the senate.
But the 1999 constitution as amended in its section 50(1) simply provided that “there shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”
The Senate also amended its rules and created additional nine Standing Committees, bringing the number of Senate committees to 83 from its previous 74.
It would be recalled that last June, the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, got the second highest votes of 46 against Godswill Akpabio’s 63 votes
The contest was the fiercest in the history of the election of President of the Senate.
Three weeks ago, the office of the Senate president raised an alarm about an alleged plot to remove Akpabio from the office.
The uproar generated by that alarm forced the Northern Senators Forum to condemn what they called an attempt by Akpabio to pitch Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Meanwhile, criticisms have started gathering against the amendment as many believe that the discrimination introduced has no place in the constitution.
“Although the constitution gave power to the senate to regulate it, such regulations or rules .ust not be in breach of the Constitution” a lawmaker.
Reacting to the amendment, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) said:
“The amendments are unconstitutional and ultra vires because section 42(1) of the Constitution states clearly that policies of government ought not to be made in such a way that a certain category of citizens will be disabled from participating or benefitting therefrom.”
In a statement by its president, comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said that “the idea of allowing only ranking members to be qualified to contest for offices within the Senate’s hierarchy is impracticable in Nigeria where the turn-over rate of legislators into the national assembly is not as robustly sustainable as the Americans or British experience about their parliamentarians.
“In Nigeria, virtually 40 to 45 percent of Senators don’t get reelected. Supposing those who get re-elected lack charisma and leadership qualities, will the Senate be led by never-do-wells? This law is an attempt to muzzle opposition to the decadent leadership of Sebator Akpabio leadership that is made up of stooges of the executive arm of government. We in the HURIWA are asking those senators so affected negatively from these destructive amendments to file litigation to get the amendments quashed because the amendments are self-serving, lack progressive ideals and are very primitive and unconstitutional”
Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has disclosed that the Parliament is working on a number of bills to effectively promote small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He also said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has already witnessed a series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning the nation on the
path to sustained economic growth.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu quoted Kalu to have made the disclosure at the ground breaking ceremony of the Abia Innovation Industrial Park in Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State on Saturday where he joined Governor Alex Otti to perform the ritual.
Initiated by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Otti, the project is expected to foster economic growth, create jobs, and position Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialization when completed.
He said: “The 10th National Assembly, under the dynamic leadership of the Speaker and myself as Deputy Speaker, has been working tirelessly to complement these reforms with legislative actions that
support economic growth and development.
“7We understand that a
conducive legislative framework is critical to the success of initiatives such
as the Abia Innovation Industrial Park.
“Our legislative agenda is centered around creating an environment that
encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.
“We are actively working on bills and policies aimed at promoting small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enhancing ease of doing business, and
attracting both local and foreign investments.
“It is not just the Abia State Government that is at work here. We are
fortunate to find ourselves in an era of remarkable leadership at the federal
level. Under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, Nigeria has witnessed a
series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning our nation on the
path to sustained economic growth. “
Kalu further said that the industrialization of Abia State is not only a dream but also a well-thought-out strategy, stressing that it aligns perfectly with the broader national goals of achieving self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.
“This groundbreaking ceremony not only marks the beginning of a new industrial park but also symbolizes our unwavering
commitment to honoring the giants of our past while forging ahead into a
“This is the beginning of a new era. An era where innovation, industry, and
opportunity will flourish. An era where the dreams and aspirations of our youth and entrepreneurs will find a home and where Abia State will shine as a beacon of progress in our great nation, ” Kalu said.
Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63
Senator Isah Jibrin ( APC Kogi East), has rejoiced with Nigerians on the occasion of 63rd Independence anniversary of the country.
In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Saturday, the senator urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in their believe in building a strong, united and prosperous country.
“Let us be driven forward by our zeal to strengthen our diversity, culture and beliefs as we remain one nation bound in freedom.
“To my dear constituents, I want to assure you that I will continue to be your voice in the Senate, fighting for your rights and interests with integrity and dedication.
“May this Independence day anniversary bring further positive turnaround, unimaginable fortune, unity of purpose, and breakthrough for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Once again, I felicitate with all the good people of Kogi East, Kogi State, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, and wish you all the merits of democracy”.
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