House Passes Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill

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A Bill for an Act to provide temporary relief to companies and individuals to alleviate the adverse financial consequences of a slowdown in economic activities brought on by the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease in Nigeria has passed third reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, was given accelerated hearing at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday.

The speaker noted that the bill seeks to provide for relief on corporate tax liability, suspension of import duty on selected goods and deferral of residential mortgage obligations to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for a fixed term to protect jobs and alleviate the financial burden on citizens in response to the economic downturn occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.

The proposed legislation also seeks to protect the employment status of Nigerians who might otherwise become unemployed as a consequence of management decision to retrench personnel in response to the prevailing economic realities.

The bill would also provide for a moratorium on mortgage obligations for individuals at a time of widespread economic uncertainty.

Gbajabiamila explained that the bill would eliminate additional fiscal bottleneck on the importation of medical equipment, medicines, personal protection equipment and other such medical necessities as may be required for the treatment and management of the Covid–19 disease in Nigeria, to ease the burden of importation and financial burden, thereby fostering easier access and reduction in the price.

The speaker said that the bill would cater for the general financial wellbeing of Nigerians pending the eradication of this pandemic and a return to economic stability.

“Notwithstanding the provision of any other law in force in Nigeria, any employer duly registered under Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which maintains the same employee status without retrenching their staff as at 1st of March 2020 till the rest of the year ending 31st of December 2020 shall be entitled to 50 per cent income tax rebate on the total of the actual amount due or paid as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Tax under the Personal Income Tax Act Cap C8 LFN 2004 (as amended),” he said.

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