Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi and Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu discussed Nigeria’s Finance Act 2019, Infrastructural Development through Rail, Sub-National developments and the nation’s quest to achieve inclusive economic growth at the 2020 Deloitte Nigerian Economic Dialogue in Lagos.
In his opening remarks at the event which is the 4th edition hosted by Deloitte a leading professional services firm in the globe, the CEO of West Africa office Mr. Fatai Folarin said the forum was part of its contribution to Nigeria’s socio-economic development, through robust discussions on topical issues in the economy.
Mr. Yomi Olugbenro the Partner & West Africa Tax Leader, Deloitte in his presentation on “The Nigerian Financial Landscape: Finance Act 2019 and Business Imperatives,” said Nigeria needs to upscale its revenue base as a nation to meet its obligations.
On the way forward for the Finance Act, Mr. Yomi Olugbenro commended the Federal Government on signing the bill and called for the addressing of the following issues;
Effective Guideline and Transitional framework for the Finance Act
The Institution of the Performance Measurement and a Transparent process
The need for a Holistic Regulatory Reform
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed in her presentation said that over 90 provisions had been made to the Finance Act, apart from the Value Added Tax (VAT) increase from 5% to 7.5%, which is to take effect from February 1st, 2020.
She assured stakeholders that her Ministry would broaden engagements, with key players for subsequent Finance Bills amendments alongside the budget.
According to her, the key objectives of the Finance Act include;
Promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation
Reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices
Introducing tax incentives for infrastructure and capital markets
Supporting small businesses in line with the ongoing ease of doing business
Raising revenues for the Government by various fiscal measures
Mrs. Ahmed said the Federal Government had developed a Strategic Revenue Growth initiative with the target of achieving 15% Revenue to GDP by 2023, reviewable periodically.
The Minister of Transportation Rt.Hon Rotimi Amaechi speaking on the â€œRail Segment and Seaportsâ€ said the current administration was committed to developing and expanding rail service in the country.
According to him, the government has completed the Itakpe to Warri rail while the Lagos to Ibadan will be ready in 2020, which are two rail routes that will improve logistics across the country.
He called on the private sector to support the government’s efforts by providing cargos at the various rail terminals.
On the seaports, the Transportation Minister said since independence Nigeria did not have any seaport but only river-ports.
The Minister informed stakeholders that the first Deep Seaport in the country would be in Lekki, while the Federal Government was also planning to develop Bonny(Rivers State) and Warri (Delta) Deep seaports.
Amaechi also mentioned that the Akwa Ibom State planned Ibom Deep Seaport would also receive the support of the Federal Government.
In a panel session at the event, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State highlighted some developments in the economy at the Sub-National level that his administration will provide enabling infrastructure for the citizens and deepening socio-economic activities across the state.
Some of the key projects of the Lagos State government include; the rehabilitation of 300 schools, laying the framework for the 4th Mainland Bridge with the necessary financing measures, expanding the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) service, improving the waterways transport with the provision of new terminals, expanding the road network and the resumption of the Blue Line Rail project from Okokomaiko to Apapa area.