Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Nigeria’s Startup Bill Gets FEC Approval

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) which would provide a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups in Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The bill, presented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, was approved at the council meeting yesterday (December 15, 2021) for onward transmission to the National Assembly (NASS) for passage into law.

When approved, the NSB will also provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria. The NSB will further support the Federal Government’s drive towards diversifying the economy.

According to a November 2021 Report released by ‘The Big Deal’, Nigerian startups raised $1.37billion in 2021, ranking first in Africa.

A statement by the technical assistant to the minister, research and development, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said the NSB will support Nigerian startups to maintain their leading role in Africa and across the world.  It will also spur the growth of technology-enabled startups and innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) in several sectors of the economy, including finance, agriculture, education, health and insurance, among other sectors.

The statement further quoted that a report by McKinsey & Company indicated that Nigeria has roughly 3,300 tech-enabled startup companies with more than 200 of them operating in the financial technology (Fintech) sector, adding that the bill seeks to establish and strengthen the startup ecosystem in all states of the Federation and will harmonise the laws affecting the startup ecosystem across the country. 

Furthermore, it stated that the bill will create incentives to encourage the expansion of indigenous startups into different parts of Nigeria, Africa and globally.

“A ‘Big Tent’ approach was adopted in the drafting of the bill to ensure effective collaboration from the grassroots. Consultations and engagements were conducted to create awareness and support for the bill, including critical working sessions with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and focus group sessions.  The focus groups were categorised into early and late growth stage startups, youth and entrepreneur support organisations, civil society organisations, investors, donors and corporate organisations. Townhall meetings were also held across all the geopolitical zones of the country.

“The honourable minister, the ministry and stakeholders across the public and private sectors of the economy, remain grateful for the tremendous support of President Muhammadu Buhari. The NSB and other relevant policies will continue to position Nigeria to leverage on technology to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy,” it added.

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