Deloitte 2020 Economic Dialogue: Ahmed, Amaechi, Sanwo-Olu Discuss Finance Act And Infrastructure

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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 “Rail Segment and Seaports” 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.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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