The House of Representatives has passed a bill requiring the federal government to refund companies 50 percent of the income tax paid on employee salaries. The Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill’ introduced and passed during yesterday’s plenary session, was sponsored by all the principal officers.
The Bill, however, has to be passed by the Senate and backed by a Presidential assent to become law. The Bill seeks to protect employees and cushion the economic implication of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for companies registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2004. The Bill states that eligible companies would be those that do not retrench their staff from March 1 till December 31, 2020.
It added that such employers shall during the period be “entitled to 50 percent income tax rebate on the total of the actual amount due or paid as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax under the personal income tax act cap C8 LFN 2004 (as amended)”. It also seeks to suspend import duties on medical equipment and drugs required for the treatment and management of the COVID-19, for a period of three months, starting from the end of March. The Bill also provides for deferment of all mortgage payments for a period of 180 days effective from March 1, 2020. The deferment is applicable to residential mortgages obtained by individual contributors to the national housing fund.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Bill is temporary and is meant to expire in December 2020. “We can review the Bill before the expiration date if, in the next few months, there is no need for it and we were able to beat the virus,” he added.