The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Finance Bill 2022, designed to support the implementation of the 2023 budget.
Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, briefed State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed said that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation also presented a memo on group life insurance cover for the period 2022 to 2023.
“This is an insurance cover that is covering all government agencies, military and intelligence agencies.
“Council approved the total sum of N9.24 billion for the insurance cover for 2022 to 2023.
“As you know, the insurance will take effect from the date of payment.
“And in Nigeria, by our laws, the insurance cover is 30 per cent of the annual the emoluments of any staff of government that is deceased and this cover is paid by the insurance company of the deceased staff.’’
The minister said that the first memo presented by her ministry was the draft Whistleblower Bill of 2022.
She said that the memo had been reviewed by council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.
“The purpose of operationalising and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to also enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by government.
“As you know, since 2016, the council had approved the setting up of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit (PICA).
“PICA has been working in partnership with the EFCC, ICPC, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as well as of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.’’
The minister said it had been observed that the Whistleblower Policy response had lost momentum.
She said that engagements in the six geo-political zones indicated that people were concerned about their safety as a result of providing information.
“So this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle policy.’’
Ahmed said that the second memo presented to the council was request for approval of council for the Finance Bill 2022.
She said that in his public presentation of the budget to the National Assembly, the president had committed to the parliament that a 2022 Finance bill would be submitted to the parliament by the Minister of Finance.
“So we have been working on this bill and have done a lot of consultations.’’
The minister said that the bill had five focus areas including tax equity reforms, climate change and green growth provisions, job creation and economic growth reforms, reforming tax incentives as well as generating revenue.
She said that the purpose of the tax equity reforms was to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax planning practices that some companies operating in Nigeria.
According to her, the climate change green growth focus will complement non fiscal reforms that are designed to reduce greenhouse emissions.
“The third focus area, job creation and economic growth is also designed to complement the ease of doing business and other reforms to support capital formation by the private sector as well as to foster enabling business environmental for micro, small and medium enterprises for youth as well as women in businesses.
“ It will also help to enhance the performance of businesses that are in the FineTech, the ICT, entertainment, fashion, sports as well as the art space.
“The fourth tax incentive is to phase out antiquated pioneer, and other tax incentives for mature industries and moving a revised set of incentives to real infant industries, through economic governance reforms.
“The fifth focus area– revenue generation and tax administration is to complement the ease of doing business and other reforms that enhanced tax administration, as well as introduced targeted this kind of non-fiscal reforms to amend, address and cure defects in existing tax and non-tax laws as well as regulations.’’
Ahmed said that the Finance Bill would amend a number of fiscal laws, including the Capital gains tax, Company income tax, Customs excise tariff Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service act, Personal income tax, and Stamp duties act.
She listed other fiscal laws to be amended as the Tertiary education tax, VAT act, Insurance act, Nigerian Police Trust Fund act, as well as the National Agency for Engineering (NASANI) act, Finance Control Management act, as well as the fiscal responsibility.
“So with this approval from council, the president will be conveying to the National Assembly, a request for the consideration of this bill.’’
The minister said that the council also approved the memo for the procurement of patrol boats for the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We got council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of nine numbers ballistic riverine assault boats, as well as nine numbers patrol boats with all associated accessories in favor of Messers Sewa West African limited in the sum of N689.7 million inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT for the Nigerian Customs Service,’’ she said.