The Finance Act (amendment) Bill seeking incremental changes to Nigeria’s tax and fiscal law, which passed second reading on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, may not be plain sailing to become a law as some senators have vowed to shoot down the bill.
Specifically, they said they would mobilise stakeholders to reject the bill during public hearing.
The majority of the legislators, who spoke in separate interviews with Punch on Friday, said the proposed tax hike would worsen Nigerians’ plight.
During plenary on Wednesday some senators raised points of objection to the bill, saying they were not given copies of the bill.
Unlike the usual legislative practice, copies of the lead debate read by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, were distributed to the lawmakers, but the details of the proposed bill were not attached to the document.
Attempts by senators to prevent the Leader of the Senate from going ahead with the lead debate pending the details attachment were frustrated by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
Using his power of the gavel, Lawan insisted that the general principles of the bill should be discussed without the details of the document.
This was despite their vehement protests that such action would not enable them to make informed contributions, which the second reading was meant to achieve.
Speaking with Punch correspondent on the issue, a former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, said he would never support any hike in VAT.
Ndume said the Communication Service Tax Bill, which has passed first reading, was aimed at replacing the proposed VAT hike.
He insisted that the majority of his colleagues in the Senate were not in favour of VAT increment.
He said, “Nobody wants any increment in VAT. Our people are already rejecting it claiming that it would lead to inflation and increase their burdens.”