Senate passes Finance Bill 2020



The Senate on Tuesday passed the Finance Bill 2020, transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 25 for consideration.

The bill, which has 77 clauses was passed following adoption of the report of Senate Joint Committee on Finance, Customs, Excise and Tariff, Trade and Investment and Public Procurement at the Committee of the Whole.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC – Lagos) while presenting the report, said the finance bill 2020 sought to amend 17 key finance Acts.

He listed the some of the Acts to include; Capital Gains Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act and Personal Income Tax Act.

Others were Tertiary Trust Fund Act, Customs and Excise Duties Tariff Act, Value Added Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, and Electronic Transaction Levy Act

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter dated Nov. 25 transmitted the bill to the Senate, saying its passage would support the implementation of the 2021 budget.

This, Buhari said would be achieved through strategic reforms on specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other laws.

He said the reform was to adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies to respond to the economic and revenue challenges caused by decline in international oil prices and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Reform 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.

“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.

“Propose measures time fund for the Federal Government’s COVID-19 pandemic response and introduce provisions to enhance the recovery of corporate donations toward responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as any similar crisis in the future.

“Amend certain aspects of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to align this Act with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as to enhance fiscal efficiencies by controlling the cost-to-cost revenue ratios of key state and Government-owned Enterprises.

“Amend the Public Procurement Act to implement key procurement reforms previously proposed by the National Assembly in 2019, to extend the scope of the Act to the Federal Judiciary and Legislature, accelerate procurement processes, increase mobilisation fee thresholds and provide for essential e-procurement reforms,” Buhari said.

Senate also at plenary, approved N299 billion as 2021 Federal Capital Territory budget.

It also passed for second reading, a bill for an act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) to empower and provide employment for youths and facilitate peace and community services.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Alli Ndume (APC- Borno).

It also passed for second reading, a bill for an act to establish the Nigerian Hunters Council of Nigeria to provide for community policing and maintenance of law and order .

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP -Ekiti).(NAN)