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APC Tackles Delta Assembly Over Rush To Pass New Revenue Bill Without Public Hearing

Re: Delta State Internal Revenue Service Bill; Delta APC Queries The Rush to Make It a Law.

The attention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Delta State have been drawn to an Executive Bill pending before the State House of Assembly. From available information, the Bill, when passed will foist a new tax regime on corporate Bodies and Individuals within the State.

The said Bill was introduced by the Executive Arm (the Governor) of Government on or about the 30th of April, 2020, with the intention of increasing revenue generation in the State. APC Delta State does not have any problem with this, so long as due process is followed.

Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the Bill, the passage of the Bill through first and second reading on the 6th of May, 2020 and referring same to a Committee of the House of Assembly for tinkering for passage on the 12th of May, 2020 leaves much to be desired! Why the haste in trying to pass this all important Bill?

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By convention and law, before a Bill is passed into law, there is usually a provision for public hearing. The purpose of public hearing is to allow members of the public especially those to be affected by the Bill, make necessary inputs and ultimately have a say in the proposed law. They are critical stakeholders and the importance of their involvement in the process cannot be overemphasized.

On or about a week ago, the Public Procurement Bill was passed into law without any public hearing by the Delta State House of Assembly! This procedure is clearly alien to our law making process and therefore unlawful. Adopting the uncouth method used during the public procurement Bill which is now law as a standard for making laws in Delta State is preposterous and an affront to Deltans and the rule of law. It clearly shows how distant governance in Delta State has become.

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Covid-19 pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to shut out Members of the public from participating and/ or having a say in a law that will affect them either positively or negatively. When Nigerians rose against the procedure adopted in regards to the Infectious Diseases’ Bill pending before the National Assembly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a seasoned Lawmaker, listened to the voice of reason and undertook to organize a public hearing on the said Bill. What that means is that members of the public must as a matter of necessity be given the opportunity to contribute their quota to any Bill.

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APC Delta State charges the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly to do the needful. Doing otherwise means the Bill contains sinister and anti people clauses/sections that they do not want the public to know about at this stage.

We State with all sense of responsibility that anything hurriedly done for whatever reason will no doubt end up being a source of sorrow/hardship which the law Courts will not hesitate to set aside and accordingly throw it into the legal dustbin.

Sylvester Imonina, Esq.,
Publicity Secretary, APC, Delta State.
8th of May, 2020.

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