2020 budget: Reps approve N453.2bn for NDDC

•Give March deadline for implementation

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved the 2020 budget of N453.2 billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the period ending March 31, 2021.

The approval was sequel to the consideration and adoption of the report of the House Committee on NDDC by the Committee of Supply at plenary, which was presented by NDDC Chairman, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

Out of the N453.200 billion, N27.389 billion is for Personnel Expenditure, N13.937 billion is for Overhead Expenditure, N2.793 billion is for Internal Capital and N409.080 billion is for Development Projects.

A further breakdown of the budget showed that the sum of N27.389 billion is for Personnel Expenditure; the sum of N13,937,244,107 is for Overhead Expenditure; while the sum of N2,793,755,893 is for Internal Capital, N409.080 billion is for Development Projects for the period ending on 31 March 2021.

In the same vein, the House passed through Third Reading a Bill which seeks to extend the implementation period of the capital component of the 2020 Appropriation Act from 31st December 2020 to 31st March 2021 and for related matters.

Also at plenary, the House passed through Third Reading a Bill which seeks to amend selected legislations otherwise known as Finance Bill, 2020 and for related matters.

The bills were passed sequel to the adoption of a debate led by the Majority Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

The Executive bill seeks to amend the law relating to the public procurement, fiscal responsibility and corporate law in order to make further provisions in connection with the Federal Government financial management, public revenue; Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, Customs and Excise Tariff, etc. (Consolidated) Act, Value Added Tax Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, Nigeria Export Processing Zone Act, Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, Public Procurement Act, respectively.

The bill further provides for the amendment of Section 11 of Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) which seeks exempt primary agricultural production from tax, “provided the moratorium is not less than twelve months and the rate of interest on the loan is not more than the base lending rate at the time the loan was granted, refinanced or otherwise restructured.”

It also provides that the tax payable by any insurance company for any year of assessment shall not be less than 0.5 per cent of the gross premium for non-life insurance business; 0.5 per cent of the gross income for life insurance business. Provided, however, that the applicable minimum tax under this section’ 16 shall be reduced to 0.25 per cent for tax returns prepared and filed for any years of assessment falling due on any date between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021, inclusive.

Before adjourning plenary to Monday, where the lawmakers are expected to pass the 2021 Appropriation bill, the lawmakers during the session tasked Federal Government on the need to rehabilitate the Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway (Western Bypass) in Kaduna South Federal Constituency which was constructed about 40 years ago.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Mukhtar Ahmed, who expressed concern over the bad condition of the road and how it affects the livelihood and economic activities of the people and aid criminal activities along the route.

“The House is aware of the need to rehabilitate the Expressway to ensure the safety of lives and properties, encourage socio-economic activities and to ease movement within the state and across the country.

“The House is also aware that President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Federal Government Tax Credit Scheme, under Executive Order No. 007 of 2019 endorsed the rehabilitation of the Expressway to Dangote Group as one of the approved projects for 2019 but the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is yet to approve the engineering design submitted by Dangote Group since January 2020.

“The House is cognizant that rehabilitation of the road would increase the level of safety for road users by reducing the rates of accident, insecurity and boost economic activities,” he said.

While calling on Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to approve the design for rehabilitation work on the road to commence, the House urged Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget National Planning to work with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to expedite action to allow Dangote Group to be mobilised to site.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Works to ensure compliance.

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