In line with the Nigeria Startup Act, President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive the adoption of the Act. The inauguration was held at State House in Abuja on Wednesday (April 5, 2023).
This is coming about a month after Tracy Okoro, the State Adoption Lead at the Nigeria Startup Act secretariat told Benjamindada.com that plans from the inauguration is underway.
The council is responsible for the formulation and provision of general policy guidelines for the realization of the objectives of the Act and also gives overall direction for the harmonisation of laws and regulations that affect a startup.
This includes; reviewing policies and directives of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) which may affect the operation, establishment and investments in a startup; developing, implementing, and monitoring guidelines for setting up digital technology innovation hubs, digital technology parks and community enterprise hubs in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Startup Act also requires the council to provide support for digital technological development through grants to persons, research institutions, and universities pursuing postgraduate programs in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
Last month, the Nigerian government in collaboration with local and international partners launched a $618 million fund to invest in tech and creative startups across the country. "The fund will also enhance regulatory policy frameworks such as the 2022 Nigeria Startup Act," African Development Bank, largest single funder, said.
Although its unclear how the deployment of this grant will work, it will be one of the council's assignments to ensure that it benefits the ecosystem.
Aside from the $618 million fund, the Act requires the Council to establish and oversee the implementation of a Startup Investment Seed Fund; which will be worth about ₦1 billion (~$2.1 million).
The members of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship include:
- The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who shall serve as the Chairman
- The Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who shall serve as the Vice-Chairman
- The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, who shall preside over the Council in the absence of the President and the Vice-President
- The Minister for Finance, Budget, and National Planning
- The Minister for Industry, Trade, and Investment
- The Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation
- The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, who shall serve, as the Secretary of the Council
- The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
- One representative of the Nigeria Computer Society
- One representative of the Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria)
- Four representatives of the Startup Consultative Forum
Currently, only 32% of states in the country have indicated interest to domesticate the Act, this council will also work to ensure that more states adopt the Act whose implementation has been slow due to the just concluded elections in the country.
The council will have its first post-inauguration meeting in next month, according to President Buhari.
"Now that we are almost done with the election cycle, we will start seeing actions towards the implementation of the act," Tracy Okoro, the State Adoption Lead at the Nigeria Startup Act secretariat told Benjamindada.com.
Related Article: Inside the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act