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Gbajabiamla seeks closer ties with Finland on education, tax system

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The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has reiterated the determination of the House of Representatives to partner with stakeholders to reposition the country’s education as one of the best in the world.

According to the Gbajabiamila, education has always been of top priority to the government which is desirous of building a solid education foundation for the future.

Gbajabiamila spoke on Thursday while hosting the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Jyrki Pulkkinen, where he noted that the House is taking legislative steps aimed at catapulting Nigerian into one of the top educationally advanced countries in the world.

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Pulkkinen had informed the Speaker about the visit of Finland’s House Committee on Finance to Nigeria next month on a working visit aimed at exchanging ideas.

According to the Ambassador, Finland being globally noted for its strides in education and technology is also reputed for its tax system which has 96 per cent of its citizens paying tax, happily.

He said the country is looking at having an economic engagement with Nigeria, being the biggest on the African continent.

While appreciating Finland’s strides in the tax system, technology and education, Gbajabiamila said, “Finland is known for its education, the secret of how you do it, only you know but we are glad you are willing to share with Nigeria.

“We are glad because education is one of the main focus of the 9th Assembly because education is in the front burner, it is something we take seriously because we believe that for us to build on our successes, for us to build a future for our country, a solid education foundation needs to be there.

“Bills and motions have been proposed and moved and sponsored and passed on the floor for the education sector, including on Student Loans, on pumping public sector money into funding education and making education a fundamental human right and transferring it from a mere privilege.

“We are taking steps to catapult Nigeria into somewhere up there. So, we will need your hands of friendship to help us realise this since you are well experienced and have proven success in that area.

“We spent about N620b on education in Nigeria, though quite a hefty sum, but still short of the recommendations of the United Nations (UN) for developing countries of between 15-20 per cent.

“So, we are not there yet but as a parliament, we believe that the world has changed. Beyond government-to-government diplomacy, there’s also legislative diplomacy, a back-channel work between two legislatures.

“We are happy that your Finance Committee is coming on a working visit to Nigeria. We will be more than happy to engage them, parliamentary exchange is very important to us.

“We will be happy to have symbiotic relationships with Finland in the areas of tax and budgetary systems and education and I am sure you will be able to pick something from here too, which is what a symbiotic relationship is all about”.

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