Technocrat Media, Abuja
The Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) project is a joint initiative by Nigeria’s tech startup ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of our digital economy through co-created regulations. The Bill will ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are clear, planned and work for the tech ecosystem.
According to the NSB promoters, the bill will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for growth, attraction and protection of investment in tech startups. The project which started in 2021 following President Mohammadu Buhari’s speech, has held several focus groups and town halls across different regions, learning series engagements, state rallies, and roundtable discussions all aimed at getting the input of stakeholders from different backgrounds and regions within the country.
The objectives of NSB
The overall objective of the bill when it becomes an Act of the National Assembly is to provide a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups in Nigeria as well as:
- Provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria;
- Foster the development and growth of technology-related talents; and
- Position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as the leading digital technology hub in Africa, having excellent innovators with cutting-edge skills and exportable capacity.
The provisions of NSB
The bill is to unlock the full potential of the Nigeria ecosystem, the Startup will when passed into law will cater for the following areas:
- The establishment of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- The startup support and engagement portal
- Facilitate startup labelling
- Fast track and provide investment seed funds
- Enhance training and capacity building and development
- Facilitate tax and fiscal incentives for startups
- Provide regulation support services
- Provide accelerators and incubators for the startups
Establishment of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The passage of the Bill is to facilitate the establishment of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which shall be a corporate body having:
- Perpetual succession and a common seal;
- Which may sue or be sued in its corporate name, and;
- Which may acquire, hold, purchase, mortgage and deal however with property, movable, immovable, real or personal.
The members of the Council shall include:
- The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Chairman)
- The Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alternate Chairman)
- The Honourable minister responsible for communications and digital economy (Vice-Chairman)
- The Honourable Minister responsible for finance, budget and national planning
- The Honourable Minister responsible for industry, trade and investments
- The Honourable Minister responsible for Science, Technology and Innovations
- The Central Bank Governor
- Three representatives from Startup Consultative Forum
- Two representatives from the Nigeria Computer Society
- The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (Secretary).
The functions of the Council
According to the NSB, the powers of the Council shall include:
- Formulate and provide general policy guidelines for the realization of the objectives of the Startup Act.
- Give overall direction for the harmonization of laws and regulations that affect a startup
- Approve the programmes of the Secretariat established under the Act
- Ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the regulatory framework to encourage the development of startups in Nigeria
- Monitor and ensure implementation of the policies and programmes of the Secretariat
- Support digital technological development through grants to persons, research institutions and universities pursuing post-graduate programs in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
- Make, alter or revoke rules and regulations for carrying out the functions of the Secretariat subject to the provisions of the Act.
- Appoint a council agent to carry out the functions as the council may require.
The powers of the members of the Council
Their powers include:
- Examine MDAs regulations and directives that may impact a startup’s functioning, formation and funding.
- Regulate and create standing orders for its meetings, notifications and minutes.
The Nigeria Startup is a Bill For an Act to provide for the Creation and Development of an Enabling Environment for Technology-Enabled Startups in Nigeria and for related matters which is currently undergoing review by the National Assembly (NASS).
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