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2022 finance bill : CPPE knocks NASS for raising Nigerians’ tax burden

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 2022 finance bill CPPE knocks NASS for raising Nigerians tax burden

The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) has accused the National Assembly for raising Nigerians’ tax burden by hurriedly passing the 2022 finance bill.

The chief executive officer of CPPE, Dr Muda Yusuf said: “the Centre is disturbed by the rushed passage of the 2022 Finance Bill by the National Assembly. It calls to question the representation role of the Assembly. There was practically no room for public hearing and engagement with stakeholders in the consideration of the bill.”

This is a major let down by the National Assembly in its representation role in our democracy. The action is not consistent with the ideals and principles of our democracy because sovereignty belongs ultimately to the people. What the National Assembly has done is tantamount to disrespect, disregard and contempt of the Nigerian people and the business community.

The Bill that has been passed contained the following provisions, among others: imposition of excise duties on all services with rates to be determined by a presidential order; imposition of 0.5 per cent tax on all eligible imports from non-African countries to fund Nigeria obligations to international organisations; an increase in Tertiary Education Tax from 2.5 per cent to three per cent of company profit”

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Dr Yusuf called on the President to withhold assent on the 2022 Finance Bill until the National Assembly properly engages stakeholders as required by legislative protocols.

Yusuf said this is a piece of legislation which has profound implications for investment, citizens welfare and the Nigeria economy, saying, it is curious and puzzling that the senate gave just 24 hours’ notice for stakeholders to attend a public hearing on the bill.

According to him, “the public notice was published on December 21, 2022 for a public hearing scheduled for December 22, 2022. There is no better expression of deliberate exclusion of stakeholders from this important legislative process.

“The House of Representatives gave a more generous notice of about three weeks. But in a sudden and baffling twist of events, the House passed the bill before the date of the advertised public hearing which was January 13, 2023. The bill has since been forwarded to the President for assent. This haste is incomprehensible.”

The CPPE CEO noted that, “it is regrettable that National Assembly hurriedly passed the bill without the benefit of input from citizens whom they were elected to represent.

“This is a major letdown by the National Assembly in its representation role in our democracy. The action is not consistent with the ideals and principles of our democracy because sovereignty belongs ultimately to the people.”

He explained the Bill that has been passed contained the following provisions, among others: imposition of excise duties on all services with rates to be determined by a presidential order; imposition of 0.5 per cent tax on all eligible imports from non-African countries to fund Nigeria obligations to international organizations; and an increase in Tertiary Education Tax from 2.5 per cent to three per cent of company profit.

He highlighted that all of these have far-reaching implications for investors and citizens, explaining that it will affect the cost of production and will affect operating cost and would undermine investors’ confidence.

He also said it has profound inflationary implications, saying it will effectively move corporate tax to almost 35 per cent which is one of the highest globally.

He appealled to President Mohammadu Buhari not to leave a legacy of unbearable tax burden for investors in the Nigerian economy, adding that the torrent of taxes, levies, fees is crippling business.

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