Moves by government to strengthen its revenue base by amending seven Acts of the National Assembly has suffered a major setback following the boycott of public hearing by members of the House of Representatives.
The public hearing organised by the joint committee of the National Assembly slated for Tuesday, was meant to collate the views of stakeholders on the bill.
According to information gathered, members of the finance committee of the House of Representatives were unhappy because they were not carried along by the Senate Committee on Finance in matters relating to the planning of the public hearing.
The Reps accused the Senate panel of conducting its affairs in secrecy.
A source in the House revealed that they were initially directed to shun the public hearing.
He said, “There was a circular that we should not attend the public hearing.
“The Speaker too was only informed on Sunday about the hearing. So, we agreed not to be part of the hearing.
“The Senate treats us with disdain and this has to stop.
"We only heard about the hearing when we saw the adverts in the newspaper. This is an insult and this has to stop.”
Another source disclosed that the House of Representatives might carry out its own public hearing on the bill.
The source said, “The leadership has directed us to be prepared for our own public hearing on the bill.
"After all, we have similar legislative powers with the Senate.
“Our fear now is that the development could threaten the passage of the 2020 budget this year because the amendments have to be included in the 2020 Appropriation bill.”
The Senate panel, however, went ahead with the public hearing.
The bills considered were Petroleum Profit Tax, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gain Tax.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, during the public hearing listed the objectives of the Finance Bill.
Stakeholders at the hearing said the bill threatened investments.
They said it would erode Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global oil and gas industry to the advantage of other countries.
However, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the proposed reforms were geared towards sweeping changes in the nation’s taxation policy for sustainable economic growth and development.