by Juliana Katung, Kaduna
The Kaduna State House of Assembly has approved the sum of N3.6 billion donated by the World Bank, in order to wave tax off payers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected lives, property and businesses.
This followed a message received from the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, requesting the House to approve the grant to be spent as “tax palliative” so as to cushion the negative impact of tax-paying caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Clerk of the House, Barrister Bello Zubair, while reading the message from the governor, said it is worthy to note that the World Bank has in the SFTS project introduced additional disbursement link indicators with a draw-down of 2.5 million dollars for any state that announces and implements a tax relief and incentive program for tax payers and businesses to cushion the COVID-19 crisis impact by end of July, 2020, increase efficiency in personal income tax collection and setting the foundation of party taxation by end of March, 2021.
As a result, Kaduna state was assessed the best among the 36 states of Nigeria for 2019 by the World Bank in the SFTS project and was rewarded with the sum of 3.6 billion naira,
According to Barrister Zubair, Section 95 sub-Section 1 and 127 of the Kaduna state tax codification and consolidation law, 2016, empowers the governor to grant tax amnesty to tax payers subject to the approval of the state Assembly.
However, following the documentation of views, which have been cited above, in terms of granting the tax amnesty, review and reception of the Kaduna state tax payers’ palliatives earlier announced to tax payers was estimated to be 229,702,392 million naira as the amount of revenue to be waved as a result of the amnesty.
Barrister Zubairu further stated that the total disposable fund available for meeting the new DLI in the World Bank project is 2.5 million dollars against the proposed total waiver of 229,702,392 million naira for the additional tax amnesty/palliatives from the hospitality industry, private schools and a section of the informal sector.
Contributing at the floor of the House, member representing Sanga Constituency, Hon. Comfort Amwe, said the message was timely as people have suffered as a result of the COVID-19, which has drastically affected lives negatively, especially businesses, which have crumbled, saying, “If the tax is being lifted off their heads, it will help them revive back to their feet.”
Speaking with newsmen in an interview shortly after the plenary session, Alhaji Suleiman Dabo of Zaria City constituency said Kaduna state government has made an outstanding performance during the period of COVID-19 regarding the tax issues in terms of providing palliatives, which led to the award of 2.5 million dollars by the CBN to the state, out of the 36 states of Nigeria, where Kaduna state came first, which is quite commendable.
“This is unprecedented and outstanding for a state like Kaduna, and it gives us the impression that there is a change in leadership direction and also change in policy directions in the state.
“We have made it clear that this needs wider circulation because for the CBN to recognise Kaduna state out of the 36 states of the federation, is quite commendable, unique and unprecedented,” he noted.