Another public hearing on the Finance Act (Amendment) Bill is expected to be held today by the House of Representatives, as reported by Punch.
The Details: This is coming days after members of the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives successfully boycotted a joint public hearing over issues surrounding the passage of the Finance Bill.
Their reasons for the boycott was likened to a battle of supremacy between the Upper Chamber and the Lower Chamber as the Reps accused the Senate of consistently disrespecting them.
The Reps reportedly received the invitation to the joint hearing late on a Sunday evening after news of the hearing had widely circulated to the media.
Poor communication problem: Defending the acts of members of the lower chamber, Benjamin Kalu, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, noted that their non-appearance at the public hearing was a matter of poor communication.
Kalu’s words: “There are various ways of communicating. We have the official ways of transmitting information between the two chambers. I don’t think members of the House or the senators receive their communication through television or radio or others. There must have been a communication error somewhere.
“If there was proper communication, I don’t see any reason why both chambers would not sit on such an important bill. The most important thing is that the bill is being worked on. And whether they do it jointly or hold separate public hearings, it does not stop the process or make it ineffective, inefficient or illegal.”
Meanwhile, members of the Senate, who were unfazed by the incident did carry on with the proceedings which have now scaled the third reading after which they passed the Executive Finance Bill, sent to them earlier this month by President Muhammadu Buhari.
What you should know: The Finance Bill has four strategic objectives, in terms of achieving incremental but necessary changes to our fiscal laws. These objectives are:
- promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation;
- reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices;
- introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; and
- supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms.