The Federal Government of Nigeria, in its bid to promote the country’s innovative ecosystem, appointed a committee of 27 members to implement the Nigeria Startup Act. Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, inaugurated the committee in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Nigeria Startup Act aims to make Nigeria’s laws and regulations transparent, well-planned, and beneficial to the tech sector. Asides from this, it anticipates propelling growth in Nigeria’s IT sector, and its effective implementation would help create an atmosphere that is supportive of entrepreneurs.
The newly appointed committee members come from various backgrounds, including academia, members of the commercial sector, and relevant government organizations. Prof. Salahu Junaidu, a professor of computer science at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, and Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu will co-chair the committee.
The Nigeria Startup Act became legislated on October 19, 2022, after the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari. It offers the institutional and legal framework for creating and managing startups in Nigeria. However, it has also positioned the Nigerian startup ecosystem as the leading digital hub in Africa and fostered the development of technology-related talents in the country.
Objectives of the Nigeria Startup Act implementation committee
Prof. Pantami, on behalf of President Buhari, recounted the achievements of the ICT sector in the country, adding that the committee needs to work towards consolidating the achievements.
“Today, there is the focus on knowledge-based economy rather than resource-based economy. The Gross Domestic Products of countries like the UK, the US and China, India are rising because they invested in their startups. Today, digital entrepreneurship, digital innovation and knowledge are building the global economy and we need to invest in our youths that have the innovative ideas.”
He said it was important to help brilliant young people and prioritize what they generated for home use, as well as an export when the situation called for it. Also, he recalled that he had recently taken some Nigerian teenagers to compete in one technology fair or another on a worldwide platform, adding that they had always done well.
The Minister enjoined the committee to coordinate operational plans and establish the baseline of the ecosystem in terms of digital innovation and entrepreneurship. He also said that the committee is responsible for mentoring the younger ones in the area by helping them identify their challenges financially and reviewing their critical requests.
He noted that the federal government had agreed to expend N10 billion annually to support the act, which can be given to the startups as seed funds, grants, or loans.
Pantami added that the committee would utilise the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as its secretariat.
Similarly, Kashifu Inuwa, director-general of NITDA, charged the committee members to help create the legal and institutional framework on which the act can be successfully implemented.
Inuwa, also the secretary-general of the committee, said startups had proven to be key drivers of economic growth and that the Nigerian government has shown commitment to creating an enabling environment for young people’s innovative ideas to thrive for wealth creation and national development.