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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami has says the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre undergoing construction in Abuja will help to drive the goals of the new Nigeria Startup law.

The building will play a significant role in implementing the new Nigeria Startup Law, says Pantami to the media this week in Abuja during a site inspection.

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His words: “This is going to be the centre where we will coordinate the issue of tax holiday for the innovators, pioneer status, and intellectual property among many other benefits. More so, we are looking at consolidating on the diversification drive of the Federal Government; by implication, the regulator of Information Technology (IT) has a critical role towards the consolidation of the economic diversification that we have unarguably attained.”

According to him, “the floors of the building will be dedicated to trainings, particularly hands-on-training, which will enable our young innovators to harness their skills and hatch their ideas from conception to impact.”

The project is being executed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and underscores “remarkable partnership between the visionary administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and a wholly indigenous company, Cosgrove Investment Limited,” the minister remarks.

He states that the centre sits on 1,596sqm of built-up space within the FCT City Centre and comprises of two towers connected across one floor to serve as the hub for incubating and executing NITDA’s mandate.

His words: “I have visited most of the floors of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre; there are two buildings that are interconnected, one of them will serve as the actual National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) after my presentation at the 11th of November, 2020 while the second one will serve as the Headquarters of the National Information Technology Development Agency to manage the other centre,

“I’m very comfortable with what I have seen here and I came to the facility because it is our responsibility to ensure that any approval by FEC under our supervision is being implemented according to agreement. I can confirm to you that all the specifications of the project are in alignment with what the Council had approved twice, in November, 2020 and April, 2021.”

The minister who was accompanied during the tour by the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, expressed satisfaction with the level of work done on the N12 billion project.

“The project was first approved in Nov, 2020 at the price of around 9.56BN and the augmentation which is an extension of the project was approved in April 2021 with additional N2.5 billion.

“To be honest, I applaud the judicious way and manner NITDA has been handling the execution of the task, because if it were another institution, the total sum would have been double of it before it would have been executed”, says Pantami.

The completion date for the project is 36 months but the level of work indicates that President Buhari is likely to inaugurates it before the expiration of his tenure in May, 2023

“We are hoping to finish this project within two years. Though it is not am easy task but we are working day and night to ensure we meet the expected quality and early delivery of the facility by March 2023 as partial completion will not be accepted,” says Abdullahi.

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