- National Assembly to Hold Public Hearing on Finance Bill
Following the criticism that trailed the controversial Finance Bill, the joint National Assembly Committee on Finance will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on the bill that seeks to amend seven Acts and hike taxes.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a 2.5 percent increase in Value Added Tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent as the government push to up revenue generation ahead of the 2020 budget.
Economic experts, civil society groups and some lawmakers had condemned the bill, saying it would worsen Nigeria’s economic situation and increase the financial burden of the masses.
The House of Representatives kicked against the Finance Bill last week, saying it would hurt small and medium businesses.
Mr. Richard Gbande, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, representing Katsina Ala/Logo/Ukum Federal Constituency of Benue State, explained that “We will always go with the masses. Our most important decision will be to see that we reduce the suffering of the masses. We don’t even need a soothsayer to tell us that our people are suffering. There is hunger and starvation in the land.
However, Senator Solomon Adeola, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, said contrary to popular sentiment, the proposed bill also seeks to remove taxes for some sectors in the economy and not just increase VAT as being pushed by the media.
He said, “The bill is targeted at reforming our tax regime and will involve amendments 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 lot of ignorance and limited knowledge of the content and import of the Finance Bill.
“It is not only meant to increase revenue for the government but to also remove 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.”