***As NEC explains why cost of foodstuffs soars
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
The government also has proposed exemption of small companies from payment of education tax under the Tertiary Education Trust fund, TETFUND-companies with less than N25 million turnover are eligible.
This is as the government yesterday presented the Finance Bill 2020 which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, to the National Economic Council, NEC.
The government further gave reasons why foodstuffs are soaring.
The approved Finance Bill 2020 that was presented to the governors is seeking to provide more tax incentives for Nigerian businesses and individuals.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande at the end of the virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Some highlights of the proposed bill which is being sent to the National Assembly include: “Reduction in duties on tractors from 35 to 10 per cent. Reduction in duties on motor vehicles for the transportation of goods from 35 to 10 per cent.
“Reduction of levy on motor vehicles for the transportation of persons (cars) from 35 per cent to 5 per cent.
“Exemption of small companies from payment of education tax under the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFUND)-companies with less than N25m turnover are eligible.
“50 per cent reduction in minimum tax; from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent for gross turnover for financial years ending between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2021.
“Granting of tax relief to companies that donated to the COVID-19 relief fund under the private sector coalition (CACOVID).
“Clarification that only compensation for loss of office up to N10million would be tax exempt. (Clarification that it is the employer’s obligation to account for tax on payments relating to compensation for loss of office.)
“Introduction of software acquisition as qualifying capital expenditure to improve the ease of doing business.”
The statement further said, “Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba made presentation at the virtual NEC meeting for the month of November 2020.
“Prior to the Finance Act 2019, compensation paid to an employee for loss of office over and above N10, 000 was subject to capital gains tax. There were two notable issues with the provision.”
Akande said the Minister reported to council that the balance of Excess Crude Account ECA as at 17th November, 2020 was at $72,409,970.48.
The Stabilization Account balance was N49, 151,181,622.35, while the Natural Resources Development Fund Account balance was N155, 530,778,234.58
The statement stated that the committee chaired by the Vice President to engage with youths and other critical stakeholders in addressing the deeper roots of the #EndSARs protests which was formed at the last NEC presented its report.
The committee is made up of governors drawn from the six geopolitical zones in the country.
They are, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Sokoto State Governor representing northwest; Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno State Governor representing northeast; Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger State Governor representing northcentral; Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State Governor representing southwest; Engr. Dave Umahi, Ebonyi State Governor representing southeast; and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor representing southsouth.
The Committee was mandated to engage the youth, religious organization, civil society, security agencies regarding the issues and recommend effective solutions towards strengthening national unity among others.
Some of the resolutions of the committee as presented by its Chairman included two broad levels of engagement, one with state and the second with zonal levels.
It was resolved that the Governors should commence engagement within a week and to develop guidelines of engagement process.
The engagement should include meetings with the youths and community leaders etc, while the focus should be on young people.
The engagement process should be flexible taking into consideration the peculiarities of individual states and the Vice President office to develop and forward engagement guidelines.
The Zonal meetings will be attended by committee members including the governors who in turn should identify the various groups to be invited to the meetings.
NEC resolved “that the planned Zonal Engagements should proceed with the focus on Youths and Civil Society Organisations dealing especially with issues or jobs, and employment.
“Similarly, the States level interactions should proceed in places where this has not been reported,” the statement said.
Council received the presentation on the increasing prices of foodstuffs noting that “Food prices have changed between September and November involving commodities in Lagos and a few randomly selected states.”
The hike in prices it said was due to the many factors which include, “Delay in going out to farm, which translates to delay in harvesting courtesy of COVID19 pandemic.
“EndSARS protest stalled food transportation and delivery and in some instances destroyed food stores. Banditry in the northwest effectively preventing farmers from harvesting fields cultivated.” Farmers/herders conflict destroyed farm produce in some states. The increased cost of transportation.”
NEC resolved that, “States and FG should be urged to adopt urgent measures including social protection schemes to deal with the situation.
“The FG will also pursue the implementation of its ESP -Agric plan and others to positively improve the situation in the sector.”
On the presentation of the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy, NRSS 11, 2021 -2030, the Council received a presentation from the Federal Road Safety Commission.
Akande in the statement said, “According to the Presentation, the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy (NRSS II: 2021–2030), is an update to the maiden road safety strategy (NRSS: 2014 – 2018). NRSS was developed in 2013 in response to a call for global action on road.
“The 10-year strategy conforms with the 2nd Decade of Action as desired by the United Nations.
“The report stated that NRSS seeks to among other things, improve on the achievements of NRSS – further reducing road accidents & fatalities and instituting a basis for sustainable road traffic crashes and fatalities reduction.”
He said that Council approved the presentation.
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