The Senate has assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2.5 per cent increase in the Value Added Tax from February 1 will not affect the purchasing powers of an average Nigerians because the increment was targeted at luxury items.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated this on Monday, while answering a question on what palliative measures that the National Assembly expected the Federal Government to put in place, in order to ameliorate the expected pressure on the purchasing powers of Nigerians.
Lawan said, “The 2. 5 per cent increment in VAT does not include items that ordinary Nigerians normally use.
“Many of the items that would now have additional 2.5 per cent increment are luxury items that ordinary Nigerians don’t use.”
He explained that the nation needed additional resources to provide basic social amenities that an average Nigerians required.
Lawan reiterated the position of the Senate to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill this year.
He said, “We want to break the PIB jinx this year. Whatever the mystery, we are determined to ensure that we pass the PIB before the end of this year by the grace of God.
“The PIB is so important because until you are able to pass that bill or bills – which ever happens – you cannot attract investments into the oil and gas industry.
“In the last ten years, there has not been much investment in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. That is so important because we have lost so much and if we pass it and by the grace of God we will, the enormous advantages and benefits will be important in catapulting the economy of Nigeria to the level that we desire and to the level Nigerians need.”
He also said that the Senate Committee on Constitution reviewed would be constituted this week with the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo – Agege named as Chairman.
He said, “The committee will be constituted very soon, either this week or next week by the grace of God because the time is ripe for us reconstitute the committee so that the members could start to work immediately.
“We have referred some bills to the them already. Traditionally in the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate usually head the committee while the Deputy Speaker is usually the chairman of the Committee in the House of Representatives.
“We are going to maintain the tradition in the 9th Senate. We have a deputy Senate President who is vast, erudite lawyer who played an important and significant role in the 8th Assembly as a member of the committee on INEC and Constitution review. So, we are good to go by the grace of God.
The Senate President also said the Electoral Act would be further amended this year to ensure that votes of Nigerians count in future elections.
He said, “We are also not oblivious of the necessity to ensure that we amend the Electoral Act. We have had the 2019 elections. We had some other rerun or bye-elections. Even last Saturday we had 28 rerun elections in 11 states.
“There must be lessons from those elections – from 2019 to the elections of last Saturday. So we should be looking at where there were challenges and what we need to do to provide legislative interventions so that we have better electoral processes and procedures going forward.”