Members of Parliament from both All Peoples Congress (APC) Party and Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have on Thursday 25th May 2017, once again approved the Finance Act, 2017 that was approved in April this year but sent back by HE President Ernest Bai Koroma in order to accommodate the comments made by the President in accordance with Standing Order (SO) 58(6) and section 106(7and8) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Committee in Parliament, Hon. Daniel Koroma in presenting the document said the President has refused to sign the Bill and returned it to Parliament with his comments to be added to the Finance Act 2017 within 14 days and the House of Parliament should consider the Presidentís comments towards the Bill.
He said SO 58 (6) says that when an unsigned bill is returned to Parliament signifying the dissent of the President, the Chairman of the Legislative Committee shall lay on the table the Presidentís reasons for his dissent. Thereafter, the Committee in consultation with all Members of Parliament shall introduce a motion in plenary seeking a resolution of the matter pursuant to subsection (8) of section 106 of 1991 constitution.
Section 106(7 and 8) of the 1991 constitution says, when a bill has been passed by parliament but the President refuses to sign it, the President shall within fourteen days of the presentation of the bill for his signature cause the unsigned bill to be returned to parliament giving reasons for his refusal and subsection (8) says that where a bill is returned to parliament pursuant to subsection (7) and the bill is thereafter passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, it shall immediately become law and the speaker shall thereupon cause it to be published in the gazette.
The President comments was that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) proposed an import duty rate on juice of 30% while parliament approved 20%, H.E. the President
The Presidentís comments also say that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development agreement with the under mentioned proposals in the parliament approved Finance Bill, 2017.
The Minister of Finance, Hon. Momodu Kargbo said they are in support of the presidentís decision towards the bill and this will help in the fast growth of the economy of this country.
He disclosed that they are spending three hundred thousand million dollars on just food items only and one hundred and sixty million for importing rice.
He said because of this, the country is importing poverty because they are sending one hundred and sixty million aboard and the country could be creating jobs out of that one hundred and sixty million for their citizens through paying the farmers. He said they need to raise this revenue as a way of enforcing the local content policy and creating the opportunity so that other industries to come and participate in the beer growing business. He said parliament has asked him to come and define this after three months and he will surely do that.
Chairman of Committee on Finance, Hon. Hassan Sheriff said this is not the first-time president is returning bill in parliament. He said the President disagreed with some of the things in the bill that were passed in to law and they should consider the presidentís comments on the bill before passing into law again and that are what they have done. He said they should protect industry and the may purpose of the bill is to raise revenue in the country so that they will not experience and other austerity in the country.
He said they have a lot more to doing for this nation even if not for today but for the near future.
Both members of parliament unanimously passed the bill into law again.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.