New tax laws to tackle recession underway
• National Assembly wants summit on kidnapping
To improve the ease of doing business in the country, the Senate is to streamline the nation’s multiple taxation system.
Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed yesterday at the 22nd edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja that Nigeria’s corporate taxation system should be reformed to get the country out of the economic recession.
“With 37 million small and medium scale enterprises providing about 95 per cent of our jobs, as we promote ‘made-in-Nigeria,’ we must also use our legislative powers to amend the taxation laws. To get out of this recession, we must provide a business-friendly environment,” he said.
Saraki lauded the organisers for keying into the Senate’s plan to empower home-grown businesses and ensure that Nigerian brands are strong enough to be patronised by the citizens and exported abroad.
“Earlier this year, when in the Senate we started the ‘made-in-Nigeria’ campaign, we knew how important it was, but we did not foresee how far it would go.
“To promote the patronage of our domestic businesses, the Senate has gone as far as amending the Public Procurement Act to compel government ministries, departments and agencies to key into this initiative.
“It is our hope that Nigerian businesses can begin to benefit from the over N2 trillion in government expenditure in the 2016 budget so that we can reduce the demand for foreign exchange while simultaneously creating employment, moving towards self- sufficiency, increasing our GDP and boosting our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),” he said.
The Senate president listed the anti-recession bills scheduled for passage by December as: the Petroleum Industry Bill; the National Development Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill; Nigerian Ports and Habours Authority Act (Amendment) Bill; National Road Fund (Establishment) Bill; National Transport Commission Act of 2001; Warehouse Receipts Act (Amendment) Bill; Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA); Investment and Securities Act (ISA); Customs and Excise Management Act; Federal Competition Bill; and the National Road Authority Bill.
He disclosed that one of the plans to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is to break it into different sections. With the passage, he noted, Nigeria would generate more revenue from oil.
The Senate yesterday passed for second reading a bill to legalise the registration and regulation of professional lobbyists in the country.
The proposed law sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) is titled “A Bill for an Act for the Regulation and Registration of Lobbyists in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB.99).” Melaye explained that the bill seeks to make provision for registration and regulation of professional lobbyists in the legislature and make provision for intending lobbyist to be duly registered under the Company and Allied and Matters Act.
According to him, lobbying by definition is an activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in parliament.
The lawmakers also passed for second reading a bill seeking to repeal the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Act and rename it Federal Roads Authority (FRA) sponsored by Kabiru Gaya, (APC, Kano South).
Gaya said aside from renaming the agency, the bill would widen the scope of the functions and source of funding earlier available to FERMA.
In his lead debate, Gaya stated that the new outfit would be a semi-autonomous road agency, which would be responsible for the professional management of federal roads in the country, involving planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, thereby ending the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Ministry of Works.
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives, worried about the frequent cases of kidnapping in the country, urged the Federal Government to urgently convene a security summit aimed at fashioning out effective responses to the menace.
When convened, according to the lawmakers, the summit will consist of all security agencies, Global System of Mobile (GSM) communication service providers, House Committees on National Intelligence, Army, Air Force, Navy, Police and Communication.
The House Committee on Legislative Compliance, according to a motion on the matter by Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole, is to ensure that the government complies with the resolution of the House.