New finance bill will take effect, Jan 2 – FG

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said the Finance Bill will become effective on January 2, 2020.

Ahmed, while speaking during a panel session at the PwC Executive Session on Finance Bill and Tax Strategy, said the bill would be reviewed annually as the Federal Government planned to grow the ratio of revenue to Gross Domestic Product from six percent to 15 percent by 2023, with a greater percentage of revenue coming from non-oil sources.

She said the government would also engage stakeholders annually to include the outcome of the deliberations in the finance bill.

Ahmed stated that though the components of the bill might not suit businesses in the short run, there were long-term benefits as the Federal Government was working on a tax regime that would stabilise the economy.

She said, “The Nigerian economy is characterised by structural challenges that limit the country’s ability to sustain economic growth, create more jobs and achieve significant poverty reduction.

“One of the biggest challenges of all is our high dependence on oil for our economic activities, fiscal revenues, and foreign exchange earnings.

“In 2016, Nigeria fell into recession due to its vulnerability to oil. Although the oil and gas sector accounted for just about 10 percent of the GDP, it represented 94 percent of export earnings and 62 percent of government revenues (federal and state) in 2011-2015.

“This narrative is changing but we still have much more to do to get to our desired revenue to GDP ratio of 15 percent by 2023, which we anticipate to come from non-oil revenues. We must grow our tax to GDP ratio from the current six percent as of 2018.”

Ahmed stated that based on the non-oil revenue performance as of June 2019, the country was on track to further improve the tax to GDP ratio.

According to her, although the country is improving, it is still below the sub-Saharan Africa average of about 19 percent.

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