SIPs get N30bn in 2020 budget

The Federal Government has allocated N30 billion to its Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) in the 2020 fiscal year.

President Muhammadu Buhari communicated this while presenting the 2020 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly (NASS) on Tuesday in Abuja.

SIPs has four broad programmes– N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes(GEEP).

GEEP comprises TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.

Buhari presented a budget of N10.33 trillion with an oil benchmark of 57 dollar per barrel and a target crude oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day to NASS.

“Our government remains committed to ensuring the equitable sharing of economic prosperity; our focus on inclusive growth and shared prosperity underscores our keen interest in catering for the poor and most vulnerable.

“Accordingly, we are revamping and improving the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme through the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“The National Social Investment Programme is already creating jobs and economic opportunity for local farmers and cooks, providing funding to artisans, traders, youths, and supporting small businesses with business education and mentoring.’’

According to the president, the draft Finance Bill proposes an increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate from 5 to 7.5 per cent.

He said that the 2020 Appropriation Bill was based on the new VAT rate.

Buhari said that the additional revenues would be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes.

“As the States and Local Governments are allocated 85 per cent of all VAT revenues, we expect to see greater quality and efficiency in their spending in these areas as well.

“The VAT Act already exempts pharmaceuticals, educational items, and basic commodities, which exemptions we are expanding under the Finance Bill, 2019.

“Specifically, Section 46 of the Finance Bill, 2019 expands the exempt items to include the following: brown and white bread; cereals including maize, rice, wheat, millet, barley and sorghum; fish of all kinds; flour and starch meals; fruits, nuts, pulses and vegetables of various kinds; roots such as yam, cocoyam, sweet and Irish potatoes.”

He listed other exempted items as meat and poultry products, eggs, milk, salt and herbs of various kinds, natural water and table water.

“Additionally, our proposals also raised the threshold for VAT registration to N25 million in turnover per annum, such that the revenue authorities can focus their compliance efforts on larger businesses thereby bringing relief for our Micro, Small and Medium-size businesses,’’ he said.

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