The Federal Government has inaugurated a 27 member committee to implement the Nigeria Startup Act 2023 (NSA). Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami inaugurated the committee on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari in a hybrid event in Abuja.
The inauguration will help to foster the growth of the digital innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country and consolidate the achievements made by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
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“In this implementation committee, we have brought together relevant stakeholders, some from government, some from the private sector, some from the ecosystem, some from the academia, some from legal institutions and many more to come together and provide the leadership that is required for the technical implementation of this very important law”, said Pantami while giving a historical overview of the bill first drafted in 2021 with inputs from stakeholders.
He stated that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, private sectors, industry players, young innovators and stakeholders from the academia were engaged in town hall meetings organised in the six geopolitical zones of the country with the purpose of collecting their inputs, constructive criticisms and recommendations to create a robust and credible document.
Describing the inauguration of the NSA implementation committee as a milestone achievement towards the attainment of a digital Nigeria, Pantami urged the committee members to coordinate operational plans and establish the baseline for the ecosystem in terms of digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
He advised that priority should be given to a knowledge-based economy rather than a resource-based economy in the country, adding that countries like the United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, India and the United Kingdom which are the major contributors to the global Gross Domestic Product of 101.6 trillion US dollars are leading economically because they give preference to a knowledge-based economy.
His words: “According to statistics as of December 2022, digital enterprises are directly and indirectly contributing a minimum of 53 trillion US dollars to the global GDP. By implication, you can safely say that more than half of the global GDP depends on technology, digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship”, he said.
“Today, digital entrepreneurship, digital innovation and knowledge-based activities are building the global economy and we need to invest in our youths that have innovative ideas”, he added.
According to the minister, Nigeria is blessed with so many innovators and young Nigerians have been making the country proud by winning prizes at global ICT events in UAE, Barcelona, USA and Saudi Arabia.
The NSA would consolidate the achievements of startups in the country by providing legal frameworks as well as technical and financial backing to further encourage them, the minister said.
“Today in the Act, there is a provision of supporting them financially. The government will set aside a minimum of 10 billion naira annually in addition to other sources of funding that have been captured in the law”.
Announcing the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as the secretary of the committee, he urged all the members to expend their time, energy, knowledge and experience to support the ecosystem so as to reduce importation in the country and prioritise production.