Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 2 of the 5th special session of the 17th FSM Congress

Day two of the 5th special session of Congress. What happened?
1. The Committee to wait on the President met with Vice President Alik L. Alik in the morning before Congress had their meeting. It is common practice to have the committee at the start of every session to allow Congress and the President (Executive) to converse on priority measures for the session. The committee reports back to the plenary on its meeting with the Executive.

2. The Standing Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on one of the main agenda for the special session -- the proposed bill to repeal the "sunset clause" in the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) which states that "if any of the four states have not passed into law value added tax legislation as of midnight April 19, 2013, this law (RAA) is null and void".

The on-going Tax Reform project for all the five governments in the federation has been in the making for at least 12 years. Two of the four States have not enacted any of the reform measures (legislations) pending at the various legislative bodies, including the Value Added Tax bill.

The Ways and Means Committee hearing was attended by the Tax Reform Project (Task force) staff, Representatives of the Department of Finance and Administration, Representatives of the Department of Justice, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the President's Chief of Staff and other staff members from the President's Office. The Committee engaged with the key witnesses on a number of questions regarding the Tax Reform project, the proposed repeal of the "sunset clause", and other concerns. The was a request for a legal opinion to be provided on whether or not the FSM can have a tax system without consensus from ALL four States to implement a unified tax system. The Department of Justice will provide the legal opinion on that question in writing by close of business tomorrow.

 More report after meeting and hearings tomorrow, April 17.

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