Nigeria lawmakers pass Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill

As at 31 March 2020, Nigeria confirmed 139 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). The pandemic reduced the level of economic activities in Nigeria within a couple of days. Businesses and individuals providing non-essential goods as well as services were advised to close operations and stay at home. Social distancing, proper hygiene, and self-isolation were safety tips to curb the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

Nigeria has a GDP of USD397.27 billion, an estimated population of 195.87 million, and about 31% of the people constitute the labour force (Source: World Bank). With weak control, the exponential growth of infection may hurt the nation’s GDP. Legal and regulatory authorities in Nigeria have therefore issued emergency policies to lessen the effect of COVID-19 on the economy. The House of Representatives has released the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill 2020. The Bill seeks to;

(a) provide short-term relief to companies and individuals to lessen the unfavorable financial effect of low economic activities.

(b) preserve the current employment status in Nigeria. The unemployment rate may increase due to a business decision to cut staff costs by reducing the number of workers.

(c) offer individuals a moratorium on mortgage obligations.

(d) for rapid access to affordable medical equipment, medicines, and other supplies.

(e) improve the financial well-being of Nigerians.

Furthermore, the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill 2020 offers three types of relief. They include lower income tax liability of an employer, suspend import duty on some goods, and defer mortgage payments to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for a fixed term. Importers, employers of labour and contributors to the National Housing Fund that meet certain conditions will benefit from the new policy. The President can extend the relief period when necessary and the provisions of the Bill will be implemented across Nigeria. To read the full article, please click here.

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