Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has solicited an enabling law for private schools to grow the nation through education.
Speaking in Abuja at a Dinner/Award night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Africa International College (AIC) and Africa Community School, Gowon said government alone could not provide support for every institution, but an enabling law would do a great deal for them.
The event which also featured a book launch, authored by the Executive Secretary of the School, Mrs Caroline Yakubu, has the theme: ”Celebrating Unlimited Grace.”
Gowon was represented at the occasion by his younger brother, Dauda Gowon.
“The private schools are there to help the nation grow through education, not flashy education but education that builds, not education that destroys but education that helps the nation grow.
“Government cannot afford to support every institution because it is not practicable but they should make enabling laws that will not tie their hands from doing many things they should be able to do.
“For example, if they want to have an e-library, is it difficult or easy, if they want to have a good scientific laboratory, is it easy or is it difficult.
“In other words, if the equipments are not manufactured in Nigeria, will they have any problems at the ports, such things are the assistance I expect the government to give institutions like this,” he said.
He also called on the government to address the issue of multiple taxation on private schools, saying this could pose a challenge to the running of their institutions.
“Government should avoid multiple taxation on private institutions but ensure fair taxation.
“What this will lead to is that institutions will invariably put this burden of multiple taxation on the parents when fees are being made. So make tax easy and very open so that people will be happy if they are paying taxes,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the school, Mrs Caroline Yakubu, while speaking on the book titled: “‘Success Pathways’ meto stablish educational system,” said dedication and consistency are key to success in life.
“The message basically is the fact that whatever you desire to do, when you are determined to do it, nothing can stop it.
“No matter the challenges because definitely if you want to succeed, you must be prepared to face the challenges but you also must be determined that whatever the road blocks are or that may present themselves as challenges you must be focused and determined,” she said.
Yakubu noted that the country needed quality education to grow every other sector and this would be achieved if the environment is conducive enough for investors to thrive.
“Quality education is expensive and the best the government can do for us, particularly private school owners is to create the enabling environment for us.
“They can also help us to access funds because we have a lot of needs that we are battling with as it were especially in terms of facilities, and the maintenance of the facilities.
“Whatever resources that we need, we will appreciate that the government come in no small measures to help us. Another thing that the government can do is to reduce the multiplicity of tax . It’s been a major problem for private school owners,” she said.
On security in schools, she called on stakeholders to come together to address this, saying that security is not just the government business but the business of all. (NAN)