President transmits finance bill, urges partnership to improve health services
To expedite the passage of the 2022 budget by the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, transmitted the Finance Bill 2021 for the consideration and approval of the lawmakers.
In the accompanying letter, the Nigerian leader said the request was pursuant to Sections 58 and 59 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He explained that the bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 ‘Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other relevant laws.
The President added that the bill provides for enhanced domestic revenue mobilisation efforts to increase tax and non-tax revenues and ensure tax administration and legislative drafting reforms, particularly to support the ongoing automation project of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Buhari stated that upon passage, the bill would accelerate international tax reforms to enhance the taxation of non-resident individuals and companies that derive profits from Nigeria, as well as implement financial sector reforms to support current capital market reforms relating to securities lending transactions, real estate investment trusts, unit trust schemes and recapitalisation of insurance companies.
He noted that the bill would also prioritise critical public financial management reforms regarding the FIRS’ vital role in coordinating tax administration besides the enforcement of key fiscal rules under the 1999 Constitution, Finance (Control and Management) Act and other relevant laws.
IN the meantime, the President said a stronger partnership with the private sector would improve Nigeria’s health investment and access, observing that a nation needs a healthy population to prosper.
Speaking at the virtual groundbreaking of African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE), a landmark hospital project to transform the healthcare sector in West Africa, the President noted that the challenges confronting the sector require collective will, partnership and more resources.
The health project is being implemented by the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with the Federal Government, Kings College Hospital, London, University of Wisconsin Teaching Hospital, United States and Christie’s Hospital, Manchester.
Buhari said AMCE would equally offer educational services to develop talent and establish itself as a world-class research centre.
He stated: “The success of the AMCE will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges.
“The AMCE represents a return to fundamentals and the understanding that there is no African development agenda without able-bodied Africans to execute our vision of transformation.”
The President lauded the management of Afreximbank, a Pan-African multilateral trade finance institution created in 1993 under the auspices of the African Development Bank, and the partners for their commitment to Africa, and the action-oriented approach to resolving the challenges that the continent faces on its path to development.
He said the rising cases of non-communicable diseases in Africa were well established, adding: “Cardiovascular ailments, cancers and haematological disorders have increasingly become matters of concern to public health systems.”
Buhari added: “These ailments are now the highest contributors to non-communicable disease mortalities, representing more than 81 per cent of all NCD deaths in West Africa.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said all hands are on deck, with the Inter-ministerial Committee working to ensure that the project is actualised in a way beneficial to all parties.
The President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the ceremony was “one step towards self-reliance for Africa’s health care delivery.”