The Federal Government on Thursday 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.
It will have the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as its Secretariat.
Recall 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 positions Nigerian startup ecosystem as the leading digital hub in Africa and fostering the development of technology-related talent in the country.
Pantami, while inaugurating the committee on behalf of President Buhari, enumerated the achievements of the ICT sector in the country, adding that the committee needs to work to consolidate on the achievements.
“Today, focus is on knowledge-based economy rather than resource-based economy.
“The Gross Domestic Products of countries like the UK,the US,China,India are rising because they had 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 the 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 need to support talented youths and prioritise what they produce for our consumption as well as export as the need arose.
Pantami recalled that in the recent years,he had led some Nigerian youths to the global stage to compete in one technology fair or the other, adding, ”they had always excelled.
According to him, the committee is expected to coordinate operational plans,establish the baseline of the ecosystem in terms of digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
“It has the responsibilities of mentoring our younger ones in that area,identifying their challenges like financially and reviewing their requests critically,” he said.
The minister added that FG had agreed to expend N10billion 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 the 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, who is 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 the academia,private industry players and relevant government agencies,among others.
The committee is being headed by Prof. Salahu Junaidu,Professor of Computer Science in Ahmadu Bello University,Zaria and Co-Chaired by Mr Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu.