RECESSION: Only Vibrant Private Sector Can End Our Recession – SARAKI

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Senate President Bukola Saraki said yesterday that if Nigeria must get out of the present recession, the country must ensure that vibrant private sector thrives.
According to Saraki, it has become imperative for the government to as a matter of urgency, create an enabling environment for the private sector to operate and drive the economic recovery efforts.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he received members of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Senate President said, “we must move away from our thinking of the past that it is only government that can make our economy to recover and grow.

Even if the government spends all her monies without the efforts of the private sector, the situation would continue to be the same. It is only the private sector, if strengthened and encouraged, that can take us out of this recession.

“Our only responsibility as a government is to create enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and drive the economic recovery efforts, and that has been our focus in the National Assembly”, he said. While assuring ATCON of the support of the legislature to enable the telecommunication sector grow beyond its current level, Saraki also charged the operators to ensure that Nigerians get value for their money, adding that, the telecommunication companies could also improve lives through performance of corporate social responsibilities and reinvesting into the sector.

Saraki who promised to address the issues raised by the delegation relating to the Communication Service Tax (CST) Bill, said, “we in the Senate will not do anything that will stunt the growth of the sector”.

Earlier in his remarks, President of ATCON, Engr. Olusola Teniola, said that the visit was 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 nine per cent tax for telecommunication companies. In the alternative, the ATCON recommended “a tax reform that increases the current VAT by a new one per cent added for the purpose of development of communications”.

Teniola who expressed concern over the high rate of subscription fees by Internet users in Nigeria, said that, “the reality of Internet access in Nigeria is that it’s all about mobile. Only about 13 per cent of Nigerians get broadband access via mobile, while less than one per cent is on fixed services.”

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