UK government collaborates with stakeholders on Nigeria Start-up Bill - THE GUARDIAN
By Adeyemi Adepetun
The United Kingdom (UK) government, through its Africa Technology and Innovation Partnership (ATIP) programme and the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, has expressed commitment to supporting the Nigeria Start-up Bill (NSB), a joint initiative by Nigeria’s Tech Ecosystem and the Presidency, driven by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The Nigeria Start-up Bill project, which aims to harness the potential of the country’s digital economy through co-created regulations, promises to improve the policy and regulatory framework to support growth and competitiveness in Nigeria’s technology ecosystem.
The UK government’s support will help fund engagement of relevant stakeholders across the country through town hall meetings and provide access to research and evidence to harness existing opportunities for start-ups and address challenges in the current policy and regulatory framework. The Bill will also ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations for start-ups are clear and work for the ecosystem.
According to a statement from the commission, at the weekend, collaborative efforts between relevant stakeholders in the tech ecosystem led to the establishment of regional town hall meetings across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
It explained that these town hall meetings served to broaden the scope of reach and ensure that every key player across the nation joins the ongoing conversation and contributes to the drafting and contents of the Start-up Bill. The town hall meetings will also have, in attendance, representatives from the Presidency and Ministries Departments and Agencies.
Town hall meeting have been held in Kaduna, Yola and Kwara States, with stakeholders able to join the session virtually. These sessions are the first round of discussions in the North West, North East, and the North Central geopolitical zones. They are to be followed soon after by the South West, South East and South South zones.
Speaking on the UK’s support, Team Lead, West Africa Research and Innovation, Leanne Jones, said: “Home to the most tech start-ups in Africa, Nigeria will be joining a growing number of African countries that have enacted a Start-up Bill, pushing for positive change and sustainability in the technology and digital environment. We are glad to support this process, which draws on research and evidence of what would work to improve the enabling environment for start-ups in Nigeria.”
Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Adaeze Sokan, stated: “We are really excited to be supporting this collaborative process. Nigeria has shown so much growth and potential in the start-up space and it is impressive to see both government and the ecosystem co-creating laws that will further boost its growth. Consensus builds trust and responsibility, which are key ingredients needed to make laws work.”
Checks showed that the new bill wants technology companies operating in Nigeria to get a license, pay pre-tax profit levies, while the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will be able to sanction whoever (person or company) that operates contrary to the new Act’s provisions.