BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Following the cold war between the two chambers of the National Assembly over a failed joint Public Hearing, the House of Representatives has scheduled to hold its own hearing on the Finance Act (Amendment) Bill for next week,
Forefront News gathered that the House Committee on Finance is determined to conduct a parallel hearing on the bill.
The Senate Committee is expected to present its version of the report today (Thursday).
The bill was presented to the two chambers of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of the measures to shore up revenue to finance the 2020 budget, as well as sought to amend the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gain Tax.
The Committees of the two chambers had earlier agreed to hold a joint Public Hearing on the bill on Tuesday, but the House of Representatives which like the way the Senate was going about it as it cried foul of alleged marginalisation, later pulled out and boycotted the event.
However, the boycotting of the Reps did not stop the Senate panel from going ahead with the public hearing.
Members of the House complained against disregard for them by the Senate in spite of the fact that they know that we are two independent legislative houses which guarantees some level of independence even though interdependent.
A member of the House, who does not want his name in print said; “If it is a joint committee, there should be a co-chairman, not one chairman; they have to share the responsibility.
“The scheduled Public Hearing for next week will be strictly organized by the House. We cannot do it jointly again. For public hearings, each house is supposed to organise its own, especially when the issue is a resolution of either of the houses. “What angle and content of a resolution in the House may not be the same on the floor of the Senate. That is why there is a conference committee where resolutions are harmonised.”
Speaking on the matter, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Benjamin Kalu, blamed the non-appearance of House members at the earlier planned joint hearing on communication error.
Kalu explained that the Senate did not inform the House about the event through the official channels, saying; “There must be a miscommunication somewhere. We have always had joint sittings with the Senate; we have no problem with having a joint meeting with the Senate. We have a robust relationship.”