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Finance Act: Experts task FG on effective implementation, infrastructure development



Financial experts on Tuesday tasked the Federal Government on effective implementation of the Finance Bill signed by President Muhammadu Buhari into law on Monday.

They spoke in interviews with the Nigeria News Agency on the implications of the new law and their expectations.

Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, said signing of the finance bill depicts beginning of implementation of new tax reforms.

Tella said the tax adjustment or reforms would improve government finances, but the funds must be judiciously used to achieve result.

The economist called for improvement in infrastructure, training of manpower and enhancement in health facilities to encourage people to pay taxes.

Mr Sola Oni, the Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said that effective implementation by government would test the efficacy of Finance Bill.

Oni said that the initiative was aimed at ensuring fiscal equity with emphasis on tax reforms across the board.

He noted that the law touched on virtually every aspect of taxation.

“The broad objective is to spread tax net to expand government revenue.

“Like every policy, it has its upsides and downsides. While the bill attempts to ensure equitable tax regime, there are areas where definition of certain terms creates ambiguity.

“For instance, does shares fall under taxable items, going by the definition of tangible and intangible items in the bill?”

He noted that the VAT increment to 7.5 per cent was still a subject of controversy that needed to be addressed.

According to him, a lot has to be done on enlightenment and proper interpretation for effective implementation.

“The critical issue in Nigeria still remains the way that government manages revenue from tax.

“This re-opens the concerns about infrastructure deficit. If the operating environment is enabling like developed economies, citizens will not hesitate to pay tax.

“But the case of Nigeria is a reverse logic. Tax is more of punishment as there is no correlation between tax revenue and infrastructure development.

“More worrisome is the fact that many of the fat cat companies evade tax while life is made unbearable for micro credit operators and small and medium scale enterprises in the enforcement of tax,” Oni said.

Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, Inve stData Ltd., told NAN that proper implementation of the law would boost revenue for financing of 2020 budget.

Omordion said that deficit gap in the nation’s budgetary system would be reduced with proper widening of tax net.

He added that signing of the Finance Bill and early implementation of the budget would have positive impact on the stock market.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle

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