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Business

Finance Act 2020: Fiscal Policy Reforms Committee to correct errors in bill

The President’s aide on Finance and Fiscal Matters has said that errors found in the 2020 Finance Act will be corrected.

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The Fiscal Policy Reforms Committee announced that it will correct any errors that come up from the implementation of the  Finance Act 2020 if fiscal enactment is needed to adjust the 2021 Appropriation Act.

This was disclosed by Mr. Bode Oyetunde, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Finance and Fiscal Matters and Secretary of the committee, at the Finance Act 2020 virtual stakeholder consultation meeting on Tuesday.

The Federal Government, in the Finance Act 2020, introduced a 50% reduction in the minimum tax rate.

Oyetunde said that the FG had already reduced the minimum tax rate from 0.50% to 0.25% applicable for the Years of Assessment (YOA) from January to December 2020 to cushion the effects of the pandemic on businesses.

READ: FG’s abandoned properties valued at N230 billion – Nigerian Institute of Builders

“There may be some fiscal enactment before the middle of the year to adjust the 2021 Appropriation Act and if so, the Fiscal Policy Reforms Committee will take the opportunity to correct any perceived errors in the Finance Act 2020.

“We use criminal law to back tax provisions and the constitution does not allow us to penalise people for crimes committed that are not crimes at the time they were performed,” he said.

Mr. Sanya Gbonjubola, Director, Tax Policy and Advisory Department, FIRS, added that  there would be no tax refunds  citing that the proponent of the clause was to give relief for two years to taxpayers “in view of what everyone is facing.”

READ: De facto Government: CBN explains why it will keep funding the economy

“In couching the law, there was some error. What has happened is that the language of the law has effectively reduced the two years to one year.

“It happens that tax laws are never made in retrospect and any provision you make in retrospect, whether against or for the taxpayer, is ab initio.

“So what has happened is the intended two years has shut down to one year,” he added.

READ: Finance Bill: SMEs, others in the agricultural sector may be granted pioneer status for 6 years

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What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported in November 2020 that the Federal Government approved the 2020 Finance Bill to support the 2021 budget as it said that there were no plans to increase the tax burden on Nigerians.
  • The Finance Act 2020 also provides that the federal government can borrow from the unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances under the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.

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Business

School kidnappings: Military and the Police will continue to go after kidnappers – Buhari

The President has assured Nigerians that the military and the police will continue to go after kidnappers.

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President Muhammadu Buhari stated that the Federal Government is working hard to bring an end to the recent incident of mass school kidnappings in Northwestern Nigeria and urges the Military and the Police will continue to go after kidnappers.

The President disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday morning , reacting to news of the release of schoolgirls kidnapped in Zamfara State.

I join the affected families and the people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe.

This news bring overwhelming joy. I am pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident,” Buhari said.

Buhari added that the FG needs the support of local communities to bring an end to school kidnappings by terrorists, and urges the authorities to keep going after them.

We are working hard to bring an end to these grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping. The Military and the Police will continue to go after kidnappers. They need the support of local communities in terms of human intelligence that can help nip criminal plans in the bud,” he said.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported today that The Governor of Zamfara State, Dr. Bello Matawalle stated the kidnapped schoolgirls of the Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, have been released after being kidnapped last week.

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Business

US supports appointment of new service chiefs, affirms close ties with Nigeria

The US Government has endorsed President Buhari’s appointment of ex-military service chiefs.

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The United States Government has expressed its support for the recent appointment of military service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The new appointments are expected to bring new approaches to combating terrorism in the northeast and provide national security across the country.

According to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the US Department of States, Ned Price, this disclosure was made by the new US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, during a phone call conversation with Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Monday, March 1, 2021.

He also acknowledged the threats that violent extremists posed to Nigeria and regional security as a whole.

READ: President Biden revokes Trump’s ban for green card applicants in US

While highlighting the importance that the United States placed on its relationship with Nigeria, Secretary Blinken outlined a holistic approach to the US-Nigeria partnership based on their shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and robust people-to-people relations.

The statement said that as part of efforts to ensure a good relationship with Nigeria, Blinken referred to President Biden’s revocation of immigrant visa restrictions on Nigeria as an affirmation of the close ties between Americans and Nigerians.

He also reiterated the support of the United States for Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Talking about the conversation with his US counterpart, Geoffrey Onyema expressed his delight at the discussion which covered a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues.

READ: FG reacts to inclusion of Nigeria on religious freedom blacklist by United States

He said, “Very glad to re-engage, through a very nice phone call with US Secretary of State, Secretary Blinken. We covered a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues and look forward to increased cooperation.”

On his part, Secretary Blinken said, “Delighted to speak with Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema. We deeply value our bilateral relationship with Nigeria and look forward to rejuvenating our partnership based on shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, and robust people-to-people relations.”

What this means

This appears to be a renewed partnership and bilateral relationship between the United States and Nigeria, which seemed to have suffered some setbacks during the Trump administration.

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This was clearly evident in visa restrictions on Nigeria and the refusal of the last US administration to support the confirmation of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of the WTO despite the unanimous support of member states.

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