Buhari writes Reps, seeks passage of 2021 Finance Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, transmitted Finance Bill, 2021 to the House of Representatives to enhance implementation of the 2022 appropriation bill.

The President had on October 7 presented before a joint session of the National Assembly an N16.39 trillion budget, which is currently undergoing legislative interrogation.

To ensure effective implementation of the budget, the President, pursuant to Sections 68 and 59 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), formally requested that the House of Representatives consider the bill for passage into law.

According to a letter read by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the commencement of plenary, the bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 budget by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other relevant laws.

The bill, as contained in the letter, specifically provided for enhanced domestic revenue mobilisation efforts to increase tax and non-tax revenues and tax administration and legislative drafting reforms, particularly to support ongoing automation reforms by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The proposed legislation also intends to accelerate international taxation reforms to enhance taxation of non-resident individuals and companies that nevertheless derive profit from Nigeria.

The Speaker also advised House Committees on Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) and Appropriation to invite INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, “so that he can give us the possible cost implications of direct primaries”.

There have been speculations, especially on social media, that INEC advised Buhari against assenting to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly, which approved direct primaries.

But, following a resolution on a motion of urgent public importance moved by the lawmaker representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-Muro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Leke Abejide, the plenary unanimously agreed to invite the INEC chairman.

The lawmaker alerted members to speculations that it would cost over N500 billion for political parties to conduct direct primaries for the 2023 general elections.

He contended that the INEC chairman is the appropriate official to clear the air on cost implications of direct primaries.

“The best time to invite Prof. Yakubu would be now that the 2022 budget is still pending before the National Assembly,” he said.

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