Governor seeks modification of Fed Govt’s Finance Bill 2020 to benefit states

YEMIE FASH

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Governor seeks modification of Fed Govt’s Finance Bill 2020 to benefit states

Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said the Federal Government’s Finance Bill 2020 be made to serve the benefit of all and not to the detriment of the states.

He said, as a measure to ensure that the Bill does not impact negatively on states, the governor’s forum was actively engaging with the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning on the provisions of the Bill, especially those impacting state taxes and jurisdiction.

The NGF chairman noted that in view of the current economic challenges, “it is important the Bill serves the interest of all and not a few”.

Fayemi spoke on Monday in Abuja at the sixth Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) National Peer Learning Event, attended by Finance Commissioners and heads of tax authorities from the 36 states, an initiative of the NGF.

The NGF Chairman, who regretted the effect of unstable oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s economy, spoke about efforts by state governments to improve revenue generation and economies.

“Already, most states have passed a consolidated State Revenue Code, as required under the World Bank SFTAS Programme for Results (P4R), but more importantly to limit the incidence of multiple and illegal taxation.

“This implies that taxes, levies, fees and charges in these states are now harmonised.,” he said.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, spoke about currwent measures by the Federal Government to reform the tax system, which include the Finance Bill 2020.

Mrs. Ahmed said the Bill seeks to achieve the promotion of fiscal equity; reform domestic tax laws in alignment with global best practices; introduce tax incentives; support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and raise revenues for the government.

The minister urged states to be more resourceful in the management of their economies to ensure growth.

“Considering the impact of COVID-19, the revenue outlook for 2021 depends on the willingness of state governments to embrace the right tools, technology and strategies to transform, enhance and strengthen revenue growth and sustainability, and adopt cost optimization plans,” she said.

NGF’s Director General Asishana Okauru said the IGR Peer Learning Event, which started in 2015, was organised to share practical tax reform lessons implemented at the sub-national level to improve domestic resource mobilisation across the country.

Okauru said this year’s edition would, among others, enable states “to share their experiences about what measures proved most effective during the period of lockdown and after, as well as plans for 2021 to stabilise public finance and incentivise business recovery for jobs, growth and stability”.

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