LATEST NIGERIAN LAWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
The National Assembly and agencies in Nigeria constantly make laws and regulations to help in the building of the country and management of the people. Below are some of the new laws from 2019 that we think you should know.
- Finance Bill
This is another law that every Nigerian should be informed about. The law was introduced in the bid to introduce sweeping changes to the finance sector. It is an omnibus legislation amending 7(seven) substantive Laws namely: Companies Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Etc. (Consolidation) Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Stamp Duties Act; and Petroleum Profit Tax Act to provide for review of tax provisions and make them more responsive to tax reform. The goal of the law is to promote fiscal equity, align domestic laws with global best practices and support Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses. As a citizen, and more importantly, a lawyer, you have to be aware of the changes and implications of this law like;
- Wider base for taxing non-resident companies (NRCs)
- Expansion of the categories of exempt income
- New CIT rate in a graduating scale
- Deletion of certain inhibitive rules for insurance companies.
- The Correctional Service Act
The Correctional Service Act was signed to law in August 2019 with the objective of focusing on the correction, reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. It primarily changes the name of Nigerian Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service, as well as its operations.
Amongst other provisions, the law does the following:
- Divides the Correctional Service into two main branches: the Custodial Service and Non-custodial Service.
- Enables the Non-custodial Service to administer non-custodial measures like community service, probation, parole, restorative justice measures and such other measures as a court of competent jurisdiction may order.
- Directs the Correctional Service to ensure the initiation of behaviour modification in inmates through the provision of medical, psychological, spiritual and counselling services for all offenders including violent extremists.
- States that where an inmate sentenced to death has exhausted all legal procedures for appeal and a period of 10 years has elapsed without the execution of the sentence, the Chief Judge may revert the death sentence to life imprisonment.
- The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation
Although Nigeria does not have a principal regulation for Data Protection, there is an agency instituted which has the power to make regulations. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is statutorily mandated by the NITDA Act of 2007 to, inter alia: develop Regulations for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour and other fields, where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information;
The regulation provides amongst others that,
- Anyone who is entrusted with the personal data of a data subject or who is in possession of the personal data of a data subject owes a duty of care to the said data subject; ( a data subject being an identifiable person; someone who can be identified directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity).
- No data should be obtained except the specific purpose for the collection is made know to the data subject
- No consent should be sought, given or accepted in any circumstance that may engender direct or indirect propagation of atrocities, hate, child rights violation, criminal acts and anti-social conducts.
- Anyone involved in data processing or the control of data must develop security measures to protect the data. The measures can include but are not limited to protecting systems from hackers, setting up firewalls, storing data securely with access to specifically authorized individuals, employing data encryption technologies, developing organizational policy for handling personal data (and other sensitive or confidential data), protection of emailing systems and continuous capacity building for staff.
- Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Act, 2019
This law was made to amend the 2004 version of a similar Act. The goal of the amendment is to enhance the capital base, expand the coverage of the Scheme, increase the size of the loanable fund, increase membership and give more powers to the Board.
The Act now allows that
- The maximum liability of the Fund in respect of any guarantee given pursuant to this Act shall not exceed seventy-five per cent of the specified loan, being-
(a) in the case of a loan granted to any individual, any sum up to but not exceeding N50,000,000
and expunged subsection ‘b’ of the extant law.
2. ‘Tea’ be made part of the agricultural purposes to be considered under the scheme. Moreover, more items such as the production of farm machinery, implements and equipment for production, processing, storage and transportation, as well as other activities within the agricultural value chain, can be covered by the scheme.
This means a total coverage for the agricultural sector, thus opening up more opportunities for Nigerians interested in Agriculture.
- Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2019
The FCCP Act provides a comprehensive legal framework for the regulation of competition and anti-trust issues in Nigeria. It establishes the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission which it saddles with the responsibility of advising the Federal Government on national policies relating to competition and consumer protection, initiating broad-based policies, performing adjudicatory roles, eliminating anti-competition agreements, enforcing provisions of the FCCP Act and making derivative rules and regulations under the Act.
It also sets up a Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal which has the power and jurisdiction to:
- hear appeals from or review any decision taken by the Commission in the course of the implementation of provisions of the FCCP Act
- hear appeals from or review any decision from the exercise of powers of any sector-specific regulatory authority in a regulated industry with respect to competition and consumer protection matters
- issue orders and make rulings as may be necessary for the performance of its functions under the FCCP Act.
The FCCP Act applies to all undertakings and commercial activities within or having an effect in Nigeria.