By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has given an insight into the Finance Bill 2019 as introduced by the Executive, saying that it is not only about the increase in Value Added Tax, VAT.
Speaking on the Finance which is slated for Public hearing having scaled first reading, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos West, said that contrary to popular sentiment about the executive Finance Bill 2019 being about increase in Value Added Tax, the bill is a composite bill seeking amendment in seven Acts of the National Assembly with removal of taxes for some sectors in the economy.
According to Senator Adeola, the bill is targeted at reforming the country’s tax regime and would 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.
He said, “Studying the executive bill that was referred to my Committee after passing second reading on the floor of the senate, I realized that there are lot of ignorance and limited knowledge of the content and import of the Finance Bill targeted at not only increase in revenue for the government but removing 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.:
Senator Adeola explained that the public hearing will serve to enlighten the people on the import of the bill as well as allow interested parties to express their views on the amendments to the various laws governing different aspects of our tax legislation and the need to clarify grey and conflicting clauses in the laws.
Senator Adeola said, “Beyond the 2.5% increase in the VAT, there are equally changes in the Value Added Tax Act 2004 that increase the number of items exempted from VAT to the extent that Nigeria may have the highest number of such exemptions in Africa and beyond. Also, the amendment of the Company Income Tax Act if passed will favour Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by a reduction in applicable taxes with first four years robust incentives.”
The chairman of the Senate Committee argued that there was the need for our tax laws to take cognizance of the new digital economy that was not in place when they were passed as well as tax foreign-based companies with partners in Nigeria making a profit in Nigeria without payment of taxes.