The Oil producers Trade Section, OPTS, has said the Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Law (Amendment) Bill 2019, otherwise known as the Finance Bill, will ‘reduce its members profit, competitiveness of their product, and ultimately their contribution to the economy.
The OPTS made this known at a joint hearing of the Senate and House of Representatives on the bill being proposed for amend.
The association claims it “contributes through cooperate tax 70% of oil revenue to the Federal Government” and considers itself “important to the economic development of Nigeria”.
“We observed that the Bill has some provisions that seek to help the business growth and economy” [but], “we think this change will reduce the Nigerian competitive incentives”.
However, Zainab Ahmed, the finance minister, disagrees and gave an explanation. She said: “The Finance Bill is
is set to create a framework that ensures there is no double taxation. The Bill was introduced to give early tax payment bonus; the Finance Bill seeks to align local laws with local best practice.”
Furthermore, Ahmed said “the Bill seeks to improve ease of communication, ease of doing business and introduces reforms for companies that are in the gas sector. It proposes imposition of excise duties on excises goods imported to Nigeria.”
She added that the bill, when amended, would boost the capacity of small businesses. The bill is “not only VAT increment. In section 7 and 14 we have introduced a reduction of tax bill on small business that have a turn over less than N25M, this will help the federal government to support small businesses to grow in the country,” she said.
“It is all about creating the right level of banners for government and creating an enabling business environment, as much as creating wealth. its provisions if passed to law by the National Assembly will boost investors’ confidence and bring more investors to the country.”
Corroborating Ahmed, Senator Adeola Solomon, the chairman of the joint committee on finance, said: “The Bill tend to introduce the avoidance of double taxation.
Ajibola Omola, a representative of KPMG, told the sitting that while welcoming the “direction of simplified taxation, payable tax should be reduced to 0.25 per cent”, so as not to “discourage investors.”
Other professional bodies that made presentations at the hearing include the Joint Tax Board, JTB, and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
Source: National Assembly Media Unit.