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Business News of Saturday, 21 December 2019


Reps approve N278bn budget for FCT, N238bn for Customs

National Assembly, Abuja National Assembly, Abuja

The House of Representatives has approved the budget of the Federal Capital Territory for 2020, totalling N278,355,365,947.

Out of the figure, N55,878,241,095 is set aside for personnel cost and N62,343,723,435 for overhead cost, while the balance of N160,133,401,417 is for capital expenditure.

The approval followed the adoption of the report by the Committee on FCT and FCT Area Council and Ancillary Matters.

The report was considered by the Committee of Supply and adopted by the House.

The National Assembly, through a federal parliament, legislates over the country’s capital, the FCT, Abuja.

The House also on Friday passed the 2020 budget of the Nigeria Customs Service, following the adoption of the report by the Committee on Customs and Excise.

Of a total budget of N238,149,325,832.70, the sum of N98,606,217,521.96 is for personnel cost; N15,952,305, 336.72 for overhead cost, while N123,590,802,974.40 is for capital projects for the year ending on December 31, 2020.

The committee, in its report, said the N238bn budget was in tandem with the (2020-2022) Medium Term Expenditure Framework (and Fiscal Strategy Paper) approved by the National Assembly.

The committee recommended “that seven per cent cost of collection for the year 2020 of N112,424,425,326.22 being projected revenue available to the service be approved; that the two per cent Value Added Tax share of the NCS for the year 2020 of N7,500,000,000 available to the service be approved.

“That 60 per cent share of Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme of N42,407,351,757 for the year 2020 intervention fund from the CISS be approved; that the Share of Target Surplus for the year 2020 of N9,400,000,000 be approved for the Nigeria Customs Service to complete the head office complex.

“That the intervention fund of 2018 received in 2019 of N17,000,000,000 for the year 2020 be approved for the service; that the outstanding funds of N49,417,548,749.48 need to be approved for the service; that the intervention fund (Special) of N17,000,000,000 be approved for the service; and that the suspense account of N4,127,712,340.29 be approved for the service.”

In another development, the House at the plenary on Friday adopted a motion moved by the member representing Ukwa East/Ukwa West Federal Constituency, Mr Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, and titled ‘Motion of Urgent Public Importance on Need to Investigate Payment and Remittances of Taxes Accruable to the National Information Technology Development Fund Established by the National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007.’

Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Information and Communication Technology to “investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the NITDF by GSM service providers and all telecommunication companies as well as cyber companies and internet providers since 2008 till date.”

Moving the motion, Nkem-Abonta said, “The House is concerned about reports of non-payment and underpayment of taxes accruable to the NITDF by licensed mobile network operators, international data access licence owners, interconnect clearing house licence owners, cyber companies and internet providers, international gateway licence owners, unified access licence owners, and the international submarine cable and international landing station licence owners.

“The House is alarmed that the reports suggest that from the end of the 2008 financial year, when the NITD tax became operational, till date, the taxable companies such as Glo and Airtel have only paid tax for four years while 9mobile has not paid at all.” . “The House is cognizant that in reality, these companies make huge amount of annual profits that run into billions of naira and may, with the aid of the FIRS officials, be resorting to sharp practices that will enable them to declare loss or less profit, thereby avoiding payment of NITD tax or making underpayment.

“The House is worried that if companies are allowed to evade or underpay tax, Nigeria will continue to lose a veritable source for generation of revenue and development will be slow or hampered.”

The lawmaker also noted that Section 12 of the Act established NITDF, into which is paid a levy of one per cent of the profit before tax of companies and enterprises enumerated in the Third Schedule of the Act, with an annual turnover of N1bn and above.

He stressed that in accordance with the provisions of the NITDA Act, the FIRS was mandated to assess, collect and pay all accruable levies into the fund, while the board of NITDA had powers to manage the fund.

Meanwhile, the House on Friday adjourned plenary till January 28, 2020, to allow members to celebrate the Christmas and the New Year festivities.