By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA — SENATE President, Bukola Saraki, said yesterday that the 8th Senate was prepared to streamline Nigeria’s multiple taxation system towards improving the ease of doing business in the country.
According to Senator Saraki, the move has become imperative because Nigeria’s corporate taxation system needs to be reformed and revamped to get the country out of the present economic recession.
Speaking at the 22nd Edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, the Senate President said: “With 37 million small and medium scale enterprises providing about 95 percent of our jobs, as we promote ‘Made in Nigeria’, we must also use our legislative powers to amend the taxation laws. To get out of this recession, we must provide a business-friendly environment.”
Speaking on the theme of the summit, Made in Nigeria, the Senate President lauded the organisers for keying into the Senate’s plan to empower home-grown businesses and ensure that Nigerian brands were strong enough to be patronised by Nigerians and exported abroad.
“Earlier this year, when the Senate started the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign, we knew how important it was, but even then, we did not foresee how far it would go.
“To promote the patronage of our domestic businesses, the Senate has gone as far as amending the Public Procurement Act to compel government ministries, departments and agencies to key into this initiative.
“It is our hope that Nigerian businesses can begin to benefit from the over N2 trillion in government expenditure in the 2016 budget.
“So that we can reduce the demand on foreign exchange while simultaneously creating employment, moving towards self-sufficiency, increasing our GDP and boosting our Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.’’
Saraki also stated that the anti-recession Bills that the Senate has scheduled for passage by December ending include: the Petroleum Industry Bill; the National Development Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill; the Nigerian Ports and Habours Authority Act (Amendment) Bill; the National Road Fund (Establishment) Bill; the National Transport Commission Act of 2001; the Warehouse Receipts Act (Amendment) Bill; the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA); the Investment and Securities Act (ISA); the Customs and Excise Management Act; the Federal Competition Bill; and the National Road Authority Bill.
According to him, since the beginning of the year, the Senate has worked to fast-track over 40 priority bills recommended by the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, NASSBER, an initiative in which the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, is a major partner.
Saraki also disclosed that one of the plans was that the Senate would ensure the breaking of the bill into different section to ensure easier passage.
He also emphasised that with the passage of the PIB, Nigeria would generate more revenue from oil to get itself out of economic recession.