The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global agenda aimed at addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. To achieve these ambitious goals, countries must align their policies and practices with the SDGs. In Nigeria, the Finance Act 2019 represents a significant step towards advancing the SDGs by introducing reforms that support sustainable development. In this article, we will explore how the Nigeria Finance Act 2019 promotes the attainment of the SDGs.
1. Reducing Inequality (SDG 10): One of the Finance Act 2019’s key provisions is the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) threshold, which exempts small businesses with an annual turnover of less than N25 million from paying VAT. This move reduces the tax burden on small businesses, supports entrepreneurship, and contributes to reducing economic inequality—a crucial aspect of SDG 10.
2. Promoting Economic Growth (SDG 8): The Act also provides incentives for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through reduced income tax rates and exemptions for businesses with an annual turnover below a specified threshold. By fostering the growth of MSMEs, the Finance Act 2019 contributes to SDG 8, which seeks to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
3. Access to Quality Education (SDG 4): The Finance Act 2019 exempts educational materials like textbooks and educational services from VAT. This makes education more affordable and accessible, aligning with SDG 4’s goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
4. Ensuring Clean Energy (SDG 7): The Act also provides incentives for renewable energy projects, including a lower income tax rate for companies engaged in renewable energy activities. This promotes the use of clean energy sources, contributing to SDG 7, which focuses on affordable and clean energy.
5. Supporting Healthcare (SDG 3): The Act exempts basic healthcare services from VAT, making healthcare more affordable for Nigerians. This supports SDG 3, which aims to ensure health and well-being for all at all ages.
6. Encouraging Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG 12): By introducing electronic tax transactions and digital stamp duties, the Finance Act 2019 encourages paperless and efficient financial transactions, contributing to SDG 12’s goal of promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns.
7. Strengthening Tax Revenue (SDG 17): Ultimately, the Finance Act 2019’s provisions are designed to strengthen tax revenue collection in Nigeria. Increased revenue enables the government to invest in infrastructure, social services, and other initiatives that support the SDGs. SDG 17 highlights the importance of partnerships for the goals, including partnerships between governments and businesses to mobilize resources for sustainable development.
The Nigeria Finance Act 2019 represents a significant step towards promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by aligning fiscal policies and practices with the global agenda for sustainable development. The Act’s provisions support economic growth, reduce inequality, enhance access to education and healthcare, and encourage sustainable practices.
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