The Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, yesterday appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to defend the amendments proposed in the 2022 Finance Act which was recently sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The amendments to the Finance Act are expected to be passed with the 2023 Appropriation Bill which is expected to be considered and passed next week.
The Finance Bill, is the fourth in the series that seeks to complement the budget cycle of January to December, that was re-established with the 2020 Appropriation Act by the 9” National Assembly.
Briefing the panel, the minister highlighted the key provisions in the Finance Act 2022 to include the change of the name of the Federal Inland Revenue service (FIRS) to the Nigeria Revenue Service (NRS).
She said, “It also included the reorganisation of the board of the FIRS by separating the executive management from the board
“The Chairman of the agency will now be referred to as Commissioner General.
“It also proposed the 35 per cent on electronic money transfer levy receipt to be paid to local government as against the initial 15 per cent to the federal government and 85 per cent to state.
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“It proposes 50 per cent tax increase from the 30 per cent to companies involved in gas flaring among others.”
The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Solomon Adeola, while welcoming the minister, explained that the bill generally seeks to review and possibly amend sections of existing legislations on revenue for the nation.
He said, “The intent of these amendments is not only for generating increased revenue for the government, but also providing clarity, removing ambiguities, providing succor for deserving persons and sectors as well as bringing our laws up to speed with global best practices.
“Let me restate that in our nation’s legislative development, the way forward at present is not much about enacting new laws as much as amendments of old laws to take care of new realities and reform observed shortcomings in the implementation of existing laws.
“Such new realities include the development of new technologies and its implications for revenue/income generation by individuals, corporate bodies and government agencies.
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“This among other realities and observed challenges are the rationale for the yearly amendments contained in proposed Finance Bill.
“In the bill referred to the Committee, a total of 10 existing Acts are proposed for amendments namely: Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Customs, Exercise Tarrif, etc (Consolation) Act, Federal Revenue Service Establishment Act e Personal Income Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act, Value Added Tax Act, Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, Public Procurement Act
“In all, 34 Sections of the various Acts are in the bill before us for consideration and possible amendments. We are to understand that our economy is facing serious challenges occasioned by many factors including crude oil theft, armed insurgency and banditry as well as spiraling inflation rate that are being tackled by the government.
“The expectation is that at the possible passage of these amendments and its faithful implementation, our country can be propelled toward appreciable economic outlook.”