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Senate begins move to override Buhari on Industrial Development Bill

The Senate has commenced the process of overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Industrial Development Act (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill.

The bill, which was earlier rejected by President Buhari, seeks to provide for additional incentives for some categories of investments and increase the value of the minimum qualifying capital expenditure (QCE) required from companies applying for Pioneer Certificate.

The proposal which was earlier passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly but rejected by Buhari, seeks to amend Sections 1, 2, 3, 11 and 25 of the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act.

It also provides that companies that are in the process of expanding their operations to cover Pioneer Industries and/or Products will be eligible for the issuance of the Pioneer Certificate, even as companies whose applications were previously denied on the grounds of expansion will be able to reapply for fresh consideration.

BusinessDay reports that the Pioneer Certificate grants tax holiday to companies making investments in designated industries for an initial period of three years, extendable for one or two additional years.

Tagged: ‘Industrial Development Act (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill, 2019 (SB. 734), the proposal which passed First Reading during Tuesday plenary is sponsored by Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa State).

It would be recalled that President Buhari had in 2018 declined assent to the bill on the grounds that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was consulting with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the ‘tax holidays incentive regime for Expansion Projects’.

This, the President explained, would pave the way for Presidential Orders and executive bills for approval by the National Assembly.

However, on April 10, the Senate adopted the report of its Technical Committee on Declined Assent to Bills by the President.

In rejecting the President’s submission, the David Umaru-led panel had argued that the President was at liberty to either propose an amendment to the law or repeal same.

“There is nowhere in the world where the President can propose to stop the lawmaking process by an Executive Fiat or Order. The President cannot withhold assent to a bill on the mere fact that consultations are ongoing, which would enable him come up with a new bill.

“It should be reiterated that the procedure adopted by the Senate in passing the bill was all-inclusive. Needless to say that a well advertised Public Hearing was conducted, which provided the needed platform for all interested stakeholders to present their submissions on the bill.

“Mr President’s reason(s) for withholding assent to this bill are far-fetched. Accordingly, it is the Committee’s view that the Senate and indeed the National Assembly should override the veto,” the report read.

According to the 1999 Constitution, for the bill to become law, it will require two-thirds approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Specifically, Section 58 (5) of the 1999 Constitution provides that two-third of both legislative chambers of the National Assembly (73 senators and 240 members of House of Representatives) are required to override the President’s veto.



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