APC MP lashes Finance Minister
November 18, 2016 By Regina Pratt
The Ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) Member of Parliament in the Port Loko District, who doubles as Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Finance, Hon. Hassan Sheriff, yesterday in the well of parliament hit at the Minister of Finance for his failure to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill in time.
He was contributing to the debate on the 2017 budget that was tabled in Parliament last Friday by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
“The 2017 budget should have been laid in parliament two months before the end of the year-either by 31st October or 1st November. But the minister presented it November 11th, which is very wrong,” he charged.
Dilating on the issue of tax waiver, Hon. Sheriff said Parliament has the mandate to issue waiver and that it also has the power to investigate the Ministry of Finance for all duty waivers that were not brought to Parliament.
He charged that the Director of Revenue and Tax Policy is an economist, who could not undertake effective tax calculations, claiming that the former did not have the requisite experience to do the job because he was on a six -month crash program.
The Member of Parliament further said the fuel subsidy should have been removed long before now and that the timing to increase the price of fuel was wrong.
“The price for fuel according to the 2017 budget was supposed to be Le5, 500 and was to take effect in 2017.Why the rush?” he questioned.
He continued that Government was still contributing Le2, 250 as subsidy, thus urging the chairman of the Trade committee to invite the Minister of Trade and interrogate him as to why the rush to increase fuel price.
“These issues are not about party, but about the country that we love,” he said.
He also commented on the Le7.7 billion Leones allocation to Parliament, arguing that the allocation should be increased and that Parliamentarians should be part of the budget process as salaries and other benefits should be determined by them.