DELTA State Government has granted tax waivers to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) as part of measures to cushion the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on their businesses.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, atba press conference said the state also received $4.5 million (about N1.6 billon) World Bank grant for budget discipline.
He said that beneficiaries of the tax rebate include small businesses, private schools, hotels, agro-based businesses, transporters, private hospitals, eateries among others.
According to him, the state government was aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy and was desirous of assisting businesses stay afloat.
He said: “At the beginning, government appealed to privileged individuals to support it to reach out to the less privileged.
“We provided palliatives, particularly in the area of food items to reach out to the vulnerable across in the 25 local government areas of the state.
“The government has now put up some tax incentives as palliatives for SMEs to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on businesses and to make lives easier for the people.”
Chairman, Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Monday Onyeme, said if there are “anyone that feels that it is necessary for them to benefit from the palliatives is free to apply as the revenue authority will look at their demands.”
The State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Gbe, said that the state government has apportioned 17.1 per cent of its revised 2020 budget to COVID-19 expenditure.
“In the revised budget, 17 per cent is focused on SMEs and the informal sectors for businesses to survive and thrive despite the pandemic,” he said.
According to him, the state initial budget of N395 billion for the year under review has been reversed to N282 billion due to the pandemic.
Gbe noted that to cushion the impact of dwindling revenue, the state has signed up with World Bank programmes and other organisations to adopt best practices by ensuring discipline in the budget line.