The Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Bill seeking to increase the Value Added Tax from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent yesterday passed second reading in the Senate. This was despite the objection by some senators who claimed that they did not know the details of the bill because its copies were not made available to them.
Their objection was overruled by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
Senate Majority Leader Yahaya Abdullahi said the bill had five strategic objectives including promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation, reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices, introducing tax incentives for investment in infrastructure, supporting ongoing ease of doing business reforms and raising revenues for government, including proposal to increase the Value Added Tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent.
Senator Binos Yaroe, (PDP, Adamawa south) was the first to raise a point of order, saying the Senate rules stipulated that printed copies of the bill shall be distributed to members to understand the details before the debate continues. “We are at the stage of the second reading of this bill. I don’t know for others, but I have not received the bill, I don’t know how we can debate a bill that we have not received.” she complained.
Also, Senator Betty Apiafi, (PDP, Rivers West), lodged the same complaint. But Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that would not be necessary. “We are at this point going to debate the general principles of the bill and in line with our tradition and convention here, even the appropriation bill that we debate, we don’t have the bill normally.”