Government will back budgets with finance bills henceforth — Finance Minister

Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Government has reiterated plans to henceforth back annual budgets with finance bills, according to the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

The Finance minister disclosed this following the signing into law on Monday of the 2019 Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister said that the bill: “has strategic objectives that recognises the crucial relationship between fiscal policy, the regulatory environment and the strong capital market we all seek to effect in Nigeria.

“We plan that from now on, the annual budget will always be accompanied by finance bills to enable the realisation of revenue projections; this supports a stronger implementation process.

“Future bills will also provide us with additional opportunities to incrementally improve the fiscal policy and regulatory/legal environment in order to further strengthen Nigeria’s domestic capital market, and ultimately ensure sustained and inclusive growth and development.

“It is important to know that the finance bill has also taken care of essential palliatives to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and mitigate the impact of the VAT rate increase on the most vulnerable businesses, communities and citizens in the Nigerian economy.”

The Finance Act 2019 has offered incremental but necessary amendments to certain provisions of existing tax laws, including the following: Companies Income Tax Act (CITA), 2004; Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), 2007; Value Added Tax Act (VATA), 2007; Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA); Stamp Duties Act (SDA), 2007; Customs and Excise Tariff Act, 2004; and Capital Gains Tax Act, 2007.

Ahmed further stated: “Some of these added measures include: Expanding the list of VAT-exempt items (e.g. basic food items, educational materials and medical supplies).

Introducing a VAT registration threshold for MSMEs with a turnover of less than N25 million per annum; Reducing the corporate tax rate for MSMEs from 30 percent to 20 percent for Small firms (with turnover of between N25million and N100million per annum.); and exempting micro-firms (with turnover of less than N25million per annum).

Suzan O