House of Reps may pass financial bill authenticating VAT increase Wednesday

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The House of Representatives may tomorrow pass the Financial Bill increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from five to 7.5 percent. Chairman of the Committee on Finance, James Abiodun Faleke, dropped the hint at the end of the piece of legislation’s public hearing yesterday in Abuja.

The lawmaker promised that members of the panel would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the report on the bill was presented and considered at plenary tomorrow.

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Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke at the hearing, explained that the proposed law would determine the ability to fund the 2020 budget, meet the obligations of government, implement policies to build infrastructure, tackle insecurity, grow the economy and provide jobs among others.

Represented by the Deputy House Leader, Peter Akpatason, the Speaker charged stakeholders to ensure that the piece of legislation was in the best interest of the people. He said: “We have a responsibility as legislators to meticulously review and examine every aspect of this bill to ensure that we produce a legislative document that is clear in its objectives, thoughtful in the mandates it imposes and reflective of the best aspirations of all our citizens.”

In her presentation, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, noted that the piece of law was crucial to the growth of the national economy, “as it would allow the government to realise its yearly revenue projections and targets.”

Stating that the bill was in line with global best practices, the minister observed that the proposed law incentivises tax for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; support small businesses in deference to the ease of doing business reforms as well as raise revenues for government through various fiscal measures.

Besides, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has applauded the move, stating that the bill would give legal backing to reforms geared at improving the ease of doing business in the country.The President/Chairman of Council, Gladys Simplice, pointed out that increasing the VAT rate might not address budget deficit if government’s expenditure was not checked, urging accountability and service to the citizens.

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