Abia lawmakers pass revised 2020 appropriation bill, begin vacation
Ikpeazu approves palliatives, tax incentives
Members of the Abia State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2020 revised appropriation bill into law and proceeded on a short vacation to resume on August 10, 2020.
Deputy Speaker and Chairman, House Committee on Information, Chief Ifeanyi Uchendu, disclosed that the revised bill tagged “HAB 22” had N102.6b as against the earlier N137.4b, amounting to a difference of N34.7b.
He said the law shall be cited as the Abia State of Nigeria 2020 Revised Appropriation Bill and shall be deemed to have come into force on July 22, 2020, adding that the total recurrent expenditure and capital expenditures now stand at N55.2b and N47.3b respectively.
Commenting on the revised budget, Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Aham Uko, told The Guardian that the review was necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic, saying the state followed Federal Government’s decision to revise its 2020 budget downward by about 40 per cent.
He noted that as a result, President Muhammadu Buhari had advised states to review their 2020 budgets in line with the prevailing circumstances.Uko added that the World Bank encouraged the downward review through its States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme.
Besides, in a bid to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the state’s tax payers, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu approved some tax reliefs tagged, “The Abia State COVID-19 Palliatives,” and accordingly directed the state Internal Revenue Service to implement them.
Under the approved reliefs, small-scale industries and artisans on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Personal Income and Direct taxes, Filling and payment for three years tax arrears, would now enjoy waivers and discounts at between 15 and 25 per cent from July to September 2020.
Details of the approval released by Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the State Revenue Service, Celestine Agbara, revealed that payments for first-time Tax Clearance Certificates, Capital Gains, Lands Purpose Clause, Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os) were reduced depending on when they were paid within the year.
On Property Tax and Abia Property and Land Use Charge, waiver was granted for two of the three years for all arrears paid before July this year and one of three years for payment in August.
Agbara, who also disclosed that the incentives included extension of deadline for filling of returns for 2019 to September 30, 2020 for individuals and non-corporate businesses’ Personal Income Tax, urged taxpayers to avail themselves of the state government’s gesture and pay their taxes within the approved time frame.