OPENING REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR (DR) ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI, ON THE OCCASION OF A ONE DAY PUBLIC HEARING BY THE SENATE COMMITTEE OF FINANCE ON TAX INCENTIVES MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY BILL, COMPANIES INCOME TAX ACT 2004 (AMENDMENT) 2017 AND CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS ( BUDGETARY PROVISION) BILL, 2016) ON MONDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2017 .
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this public hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Finance on these three Bills which are of immense benefits to all Nigerians. The Bills namely are;
i. Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Bill (SB 331)
ii. Companies Income Tax Act 2004 (Amendment Bill) 2017 (SB
iii. An Act to Provide for Constituency Project in the Annual
Budget of the Federation and For Other Matters Connected
Therewith (SB 321).
Transparency is an important element of a good fiscal and investment environment. The various investigative hearings of the Senate, arising from the arbitrary award of waivers, tax holidays, exemptions and the likes, has revealed the need for a proper legislative framework to provide for a transparent tax incentive management. The Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Bill will go a long way in entrenching transparency, accountability and sound economic management on a sustainable basis. It will aid efficiency and empower the relevant stakeholders with the right structures for a proper review of the financial and tax stream of any specific entity when necessary. The facts uncovered, and the recommendations of the Senate AdHoc Committee on Duty Waivers, Concessions and Grants have strengthened the resolve of the present Senate to make this Bill a priority.
Tax Incentives if not properly managed, can be a drain on the revenue of government. There is therefore the urgent need to create the appropriate legal framework for the regulation of tax incentives in Nigeria.
It is our belief that a transparent tax incentive framework, will not only plug revenue leakages, but will go a long way in attracting and promoting foreign investments in Nigeria.
The Companies Income Tax Act Amendment Bill (CITA) is a short amendment to the existing Act. The proposed amendments will encourage investments in the
Industrial and mining sectors of the economy; especially in the rural areas where ordinarily it would have been unattractive to invest.
It is expected that when the CITA Bill is passed into law, economic activities that would be generated through tax moratorium assured by this Bill, will pilot the much canvassed employment opportunities for our qualified youths; and open up communities where these companies are sited.
The Constituency Projects Budgetary Provision Bill is an important developmental Bill. The Bill will ensure that every local government is covered in the allocation of projects for the purpose of infrastructural development and wealth creation in the annual budget.
In some African Democracies with similar Presidential system as ours, like Kenya and Uganda; there exist legal and institutional frameworks for the implementation of constituency projects. This is to forestall controversies that might arise because of the poor understanding of the implementation process. I am hopeful this Bill will aid Constituency project implementation oversight and ensure its equitable distribution and execution.
It is pertinent to educate the Public that this Bill is not to empower the National Assembly members to take 20% of the annual budget and use it for personal consumption.
That has always been the false understanding of constituency projects even amongst the most educated Nigerians. Members of the National Assembly merely identify the needs of their constituents and recommend to the Executive during budgeting. Ultimately National Assembly members have no direct control over the release of funds and all payments are processed and effected in accordance with government regulations.
I thank the Chairman and members of the Senate Committee on Finance for their dedication and commitment to ensuring we begin this new session by considering these Bills which are all in tandem with our legislative interventions in the 8th Senate. I also thank the sponsors of the three Bills, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Senator Andy Uba and Senator Stella Oduah for the quality of the Bills which was well received by the Senate during second reading.
I also thank all invited guests for making it to this public hearing. Your presence here today is a reassurance of your commitment to enhancing the quality of these Bills which will benefit all Nigerians.
Let me reassure you that the Senate has not taken any position on any of the sections of the proposed Bills. It is your input here and those made before now that can help us enact a balanced and all-inclusive legislation that is far reaching and implementable.
11. I therefore urge you all to feel free and contribute to
this public hearing. I wish you all a successful
12. I hereby declare this Public Hearing open.
13. Thank you for listening. God Bless you all
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE