SENATE yesterday passed for second reading the Finance Bill 2020 preparatory for aggressive revenue drive for the implementation of the N13.08trillion 2021 Budget received from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Consideration of the bill, also known as a Bill for an Act to amend the Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Tertiary Education Trust Fund Establishment Act, among others, followed the presentation of the lead debate at plenary by Senate leader, Abdullahi Yahaya (APC Kebbi).
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Yahaya said its objectives, among others, seek to reform extant fiscal policies to respond to the economic and revenue challenges caused by the decline in international oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the bill also seeks to reform extant fiscal policies to prioritize job creation, economic growth, socio-economic development, domestic revenue mobilization to foster closer coordination with monetary and trade policies.
Yahaya said the bill also seeks to provide fiscal relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two consecutive years of assessment and also reform commencement and cessation rules for small businesses.
He said the bill seeks to provide a boost to small and medium scale enterprises by reducing their tax burden.
The Senate leader said the bill also seeks to replace existing tax incentives with more targeted incentives to stimulate economic activities in the capital market and infrastructure sectors.
According to him, if the Nigerian government was determined to generate sufficient revenue to finance its numerous projects, steps taken should include devising ingenious means of expanding the tax base and collection of tax effectively.
Contributing, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), said the government must find a way of recovering funds illicitly acquired and stashed in some banks to support the revenue drive of the country.
Senator Gabriel Suswan (PDP Benue North East), said there was a need to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act to take care of the deficit ratio in the budget.
In his contribution, Senator Adamu Alero (APC Kebbi Central), called for more friendly ports to allow the growth of business in the country.
On his part, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West), appealed for caution on deliberations and passing of the Finance Bill.
He said the decision reached on passing the bill must not be inimical to the interest of the people.
Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC Taraba Central), advocated the use of tax reform as a means of diversification of the economy and promotion of the local industry.
Other senators who contributed toward the passing of the bill for second reading are Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), among others.