The Senate has pledged its preparedness to work with the US Chamber of Commerce African Business Centre to develop the nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector towards diversifying the nation’s economy and creating jobs.
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki made the pledge in Abuja when the Group led by Ms. Leila Ndiaye visited him ahead of the launch of the ICT Working Group in Abuja.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, thanked the US Chamber for their interest in working together with relevant agencies to develop Nigeria’s ICT sector.
He stated that the upcoming launching of the Working Group is timely for the country as the nation seeks to diversify its economy and develop new avenues to lower the unemployment rate, particularly among the youth.
He noted that the activities of the Working Group will create many Public Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities and assured the delegation of the National Assembly’s commitment to the development of the nation’s ICT infrastructure for both commercial and social advancement.
“For ICT to thrive and lead to the creation of jobs and other social services, the National Assembly and the US Chamber of Commerce would need to work together to initiate laws that would create an environment that is attractive to foreign investments, support local startups and encourage global competitive models,” he said.
Saraki said: “What I think I know how to do is how to make things happen in government. What we need to do is to sit down with you and see what laws we need to pass, what laws do we need to amend, what regulations do we need to review to strengthen the ICT sector in Nigeria to truly create jobs and create opportunities that will bring investors to the sector.”
He called on the Working Group to come up with a report specifying what laws need to be passed to support the development and growth of the ICT industry in the country.
“Our responsibility is that when you give us that road map, we can come up with some documentation that will highlight the priority on what to do, and I can assure you that it will not be an exercise in futility,” he said.
He also said it is imperative for government to look at ways of eliminate multiple taxation across local and state jurisdictions and provide other incentives to lower the operating costs of fledgling technology firms.
He however reiterated the Senates’s support for the Working Group for the delivery of their mandate.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Ms Leila Ndiaye, told the Senate President that the purpose of the Working Group is to bring together public and private organizations that are interested in developing Nigeria’s ICT sector to enhance its commercial and social impact.
“The idea is to get the Working Group to review the relevant laws and regulations governing the ICT sector and determine a list of priority reform recommendations,” Ms Ndiaye said.