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Finance Bill: Nigerians Not Paying Enough Tax – Senate

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A member of the ninth Senate, Mr George Sekibo, has stated that Nigerians are not paying enough taxes compared with their counterparts in other countries, stressing that this has made government to always want to borrow more funds to provide for the needs of citizens.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker representing Rivers East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, while contributing to the Finance Bill passed by the Senate on Thursday at the plenary, said there was need to generate more money internally.

Senator Sekibo said, “It is good to raise the funds by ourselves than borrowing from outside. We have borrowed enough.

“Nigerians are used to free things. Otherwise, the amount of taxes we pay here compared to other countries, we are not paying enough.”

Another contributor, Senator Abdullahi Yahayi, noted that Nigeria needed a non-partisan approach to tackle its revenue problem which was denting its economy.

“The problem of our economy is the problem of revenue, the issue of economy is the issue that is beyond politics to me, whether it is APC today or PDP tomorrow, we have to come out and look at this matter in a non-partisan way. The major problem of the Nigerian economy is revenue,” he said yesterday.

The Senate President, Mr Ahmed Lawan, said that the purpose of the bill was not to put taxes on Nigerians but to create the necessary revenue needed for development.

“What government is trying to do with this Bill is to create the revenue necessary for us to create the environment where we are able to provide schools, Health care and have an economy that works for everyone.

“With time, we should look at things to do to in case some had unintended consequences come up,” he stated.

After the bill passed by the upper chamber of the parliament, the Senate President said: “What we have done is very significant because this is to ensure that we not only have sources of funding for the 2020 Budget but also for subsequent activities of government.”

Speaking further, Mr Lawan stated that, “The revenue generating agencies will have to sit up, the Senate will be mounting a lot of oversight on the revenue agencies.

“We must ensure that any agency that is charged with generating revenue must discharge its function judiciously.

“What we have down is to create more revenue to provide infrastructure for the Nigerian people.”

Recall that last month, President Muhammadu Buhari, while presenting the 2020 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly, submitted the Finance Bill, which, among others, hopes to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5 percent from 5 percent from January 2020.

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