Amidst economic hardship, Finance Minister hints at additional taxes for Nigerians in 2022

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that there might be an introduction of new tariffs and levies for its citizens in 2022, as according to her, “the economy was now on a recovery path”.

Mrs. Ahmed made this known yesterday, while addressing ‘stakeholders’ during a public hearing on the 2021 Finance Bill, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, in Abuja. She said that a couple of ”reforms and amendments” had been recommended in the draft 2021 Finance Amendment Bill, adding that more will be introduced in the middle of 2022.

The Bill provides for enhancing domestic revenue mobilisation efforts to increase tax and non-tax revenues, Tax Administration and Legislative Drafting Reforms, particularly to support the ongoing automation reforms by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS).

The minister said,” modest changes had been proposed but that more fiscal reforms were still in view as the ministry could not take all the proposals collected from stakeholders”. The minister further said that there are ongoing legal cases in court against the Federal Government on VAT and Stamp Duties, which was why the ministry stayed off those areas. She, however, expressed hope that by mid-2022, the cases might have been dispensed with, and then reforms in those areas could be proposed for parliament to consider.

Mrs. Ahmed said that there might be a need to revisit the antiquated Stamp Duties and Capital-Gains Tax for holistic reform by the Legislature.

The minister also said that the Bill was a product of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ”commitment made while presenting the 2022 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly on October 8, 2021”.

Speaking, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the 2021 Finance Bill ”seeks to introduce strategic and broadminded, positive reforms that will engender best practices and guarantee the interest of the investing public and businesses.” He said that the Bill seeks to statutorily check borrowing by local, states and Federal Government, enhance transparency and accountability in the administration in various strata of tax and public revenue generation.

Recall that President Buhari on December 7, transmitted a letter to the Senate, urging it to consider and pass the Finance (Amendment) Bill 2021. According to him, the Finance Bill would guide the implementation of the soon-to-be passed Appropriation Act, 2022.

He said the Finance Bill, 2021, seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 Federal Budget of ‘Economic Growth and Sustainability’, by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other relevant laws.

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