The Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) was on the 15th of Dec. approved by the Federal Executive Council(FEC) and is a step closer to getting enacted into law. The Presidency is now set to submit the bill to the National Assembly for consideration.
The NSB seeks to create a conducive environment for Nigerian startups to flourish. The three major challenges that the bill is looking to tackle are regulatory uncertainties, lack of an enabling business environment, and limited local content. The bill aims to ensure the Nigerian tech ecosystem is conducive and much more stable and predictable.
It will also offer protection and incentives, like tax breaks and access to an exclusive list of private and public-led funding opportunities, for indigenous founders. The bill will also provide incentives to attract local and foreign investors to the Nigerian startup community.
The bill is a collaborative effort between the Presidency, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Export and Promotion Council and other government bodies. The initiative for the NSB was launched in May 2021, by the Presidency, in collaboration with 30 tech leaders, including Ventures Platform founder Kola Aina and Future Africa founder Iyin Aboyeji, officials of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the Minister of Digital Economy Isa Pantami.
Since then, the process of getting the bill enacted into law has garnered almost 300 volunteers. Also private sector players have also indicated interest. Some of them include legal firms like TLP Advisory and Aelex, policy advisors Advocacy for Policy and Innovation (API) and Innovation for Policy Foundation, and media organisations TechCabal and Wimbart. Google Nigeria and the UK government, through the West Africa Research and Innovation Hub and the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, are also supporting the bill.
Speaking on recent developments, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation and the NSB Lead said, “The NSB is one among a series of key activities the Presidency is using to drive the building of a more sustainable ecosystem for young people in Nigeria to thrive and scale.”
Kola Aina, Founder and General Partner of Ventures Platform Fund, also added, “The bill is being proposed to provide an enabling environment for the growth of startups and guard against different challenges faced by startups such as seemingly disruptive regulations, lack of regulatory certainty, and weak infrastructure like broadband, open data, and digital platforms that limit the optimisation of the many benefits of the digital economy.”