The Federal Government on Wednesday (March 8, 2023) inaugurated the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) Implementation Committee to help build the country’s innovative ecosystem. Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy inaugurated the committee in a hybrid event in Abuja.
Recalls that the NSA was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 19, 2022, as an Executive Act. The Act provides the legal and institutional framework for the development and operation of startups in Nigeria.
It also positioned the Nigerian startup ecosystem as the leading digital hub in Africa and fostering the development of technology-related talents in the country.
Pantami, while inaugurating the committee on behalf of Buhari enumerated the achievements of the ICT sector in the country, adding that the committee needs to work to consolidate the achievements.
“Today, there is a focus on a knowledge-based economy rather than a resource-based economy.
“The Gross Domestic Products of countries like the UK, the US and China, India are rising because they invested in their startups.
“Today, digital entrepreneurship, digital innovation and knowledge are building the global economy and we need to invest in our youths that have innovative ideas.
“The implementation of the Act is an attempt to turn things, make us a producer, an exporter of ICT products rather than importer,” Pantami said.
He also said there was the need to support talented youths and prioritise what they produced for domestic consumption, as well as export as the need arose.
Pantami recalled that in recent years, he had led some Nigerian youths to the global stage to compete in one technology fair or the other, adding that they had always excelled.
According to him, the committee is expected to coordinate operational plans and establish the baseline of the ecosystem in terms of digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The members have the responsibilities of mentoring our younger ones in that area, identifying their challenges like financially and reviewing their critical requests,” he said.
The minister added that FG had agreed to expend N10 billion annually to support the Act, which can either be given to the start-ups as seed funds, grants or loans.
Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, said the government was committed to creating an enabling environment for young people’s innovative ideas to thrive for wealth creation and national development.
Inuwa, as the Secretary General of the committee, further said that start-ups had proven to be key drivers to economic growth.
The DG, however, charged the committee members to help create the legal and institutional framework on which the Act can be successfully implemented.
The committee consists of 27 members drawn from academia, private industry players and relevant government agencies, among others.
The committee is being headed by Prof. Salahu Junaidu, a Professor of Computer Science at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Co-Chaired by Mr Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, who respectively committed to working to actualise the mandates of the Act.