October 15, 2020
By Michael Ezeh and Latifat Moradeyo (Associates)
Although, the primary target of the COVID 19 pandemic is public health, its impact on the global economies is quite calamitous and unprecedented. Business process functions across most industries are severely deterred due to the immense pressure resulting from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, many multinationals, complex and business-critical services running a global scale as well as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) must be reassessed to meet the realities of our time. Countries around the world have put in place monetary and fiscal measures to cushion the hardship of the deadly virus on businesses, individuals, and households.
In a bid to cushion the effect of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the House of Representatives on the 24th March, 2020 passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020 (“the Bill”). According to Section 1 of the Bill, the objectives of the Bill are as follows:
- To provide temporary relief to companies and individuals and alleviate the adverse financial consequences of a slowdown in economic activities as a result of Covid-19;
- To protect the employment status of Nigerians who might otherwise become unemployed;
- To provide a moratorium on mortgage obligations for individuals;
- To eliminate additional fiscal bottleneck on the importation of medical equipment, medicines, personal protection equipment, etc.; and
- To cater to the general wellbeing of Nigerians pending the eradication of the pandemic and a return to economic stability.
The Bill provides for three relief which are; reduction of income tax liability of an employer, waiver of import duty on medicines and medical goods and deferral of mortgage payments to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for a fixed term.