Private sector’s role is indispensable in the economy – Dr. Burkola Saraki

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The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has identified the partnership of the private sector as possible way out of the current economic recession in Nigeria. ‘National Assembly’ responsibility is to engage the private sector and design ways to get out of the current economic quagmire’. Dr. Saraki said.
Speaking at a courtesy visit by the members of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Abuja on Thursday; Saraki said “even if the government spends all her monies without the efforts of the private sector”, the situation would be the same.
While assuring ATCON of the support of the legislature to enable it grow beyond its current level; Saraki also charged the delegation to ensure Nigerians get value for their money, adding that the telecommunication companies could also improve lives through social corporate responsibilities. On his part, the President of ATCON, Engr. Olusola Teniola said the association was at the National Assembly to plead with the leadership of the Senate to reconsider the Communication Service Tax (CST) Bill before it.
The proposed Bill among other things recommended 9% tax for telecommunication companies. In the alternative, the ATCON recommended “a tax reform that increases the current VAT by a new 1% added for the purpose of development of communications”.
Engr. Olusola also expressed great concern over the high rate of subscription fees by Internet users in Nigeria. “The reality of Internet access in Nigeria is that it’s all about mobile. Only about 13% of Nigerians get broadband access via mobile while less than 1% does from fixed services.
“One of the main reasons the rate of Internet adoption and use is rather slow in Nigeria is the high cost of data subscription. A 500MB plan costs typically 5.4% of average monthly income”, he added. The forum had in attendance, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications; other Senators and past and present leadership of ATCON.

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