By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Bureau Chief, South West
As part of its continued effort at revitalising the nation’s startup ecosystem towards the sustainability of a digitally transformed nation, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has engaged relevant stakeholders within the tech ecosystem in a Digital Policy Dialogue with the intent of harnessing ideas for the effective implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA).
The Digital Policy Dialogue session, which was held last week Thursday at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, south west, Nigeria, is aimed at creating a platform where inclusive and valuable insights are gathered from stakeholders to create a practical framework that will promote innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth within the Nigerian Startup ecosystem.
The dialogue session which was organised by the GIZ/Digital Transformation Center Nigeria, was designed to enhance policy implementation capacities in the digital innovation ecosystem, enhance stakeholder collaboration from various sectors, create an inclusive policy implementation framework as well as promote innovation and economic growth.
Speaking on the effect of NSA on Digital Transformation in Nigeria while delivering the closing remark, the Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa gave an overview of the NSA and its benefit as well as opportunities it would provide to the Nigerian youths and the nation as a whole.
The NITDA DG, represented by his Special Adviser on Digital Transformation, Dr. Aminu Lawal, stated that the NSA was passed in October 2022 to create a more favourable environment for Startups in Nigeria.
“The Act provides for several benefits for Startups including Tax incentives, access to seed funds, grants and loans, protection of intellectual property, talent development and capacity building and, regulatory support among others”, he noted.
While lauding the enactment of the Act as a step towards the right direction for the nation’s startup ecosystem, Mallam Inuwa further stated that the Act would increase visibility for Nigerian startups which would consequently attract both foreign and domestic investment, create jobs and boost innovation.
Inuwa mentioned that the NSA would have a significant impact on People, Processes and Technology which were the three pillars of digital transformation.
Buttressing his point with more holistic insights on NSA’s impact on people, he disclosed that training and mentorship provided by the Act would enable the required skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the digital age. He added that “this will help to create a more skilled workforce in the digital sector and boost the digital economy”.
Enumerating further on the Act’s impact on Processes, the NITDA boss said that “the Act’s provisions for support and access to funds would help startups to develop and deliver digital services that will digitise the processes of their customers from different sectors”.
Speaking on the last pillar, Technology, the NITDA boss stated that the Act would lead to the exploration of emerging technologies in developing solutions that would attract investment in digital solutions.
He further opined that the Act would increase access to data, improve collaboration between startups and the government, and also, improve access to digital services.
While pledging to work with relevant stakeholders across all sectors of the economy to make startup support services available as well as increasing all indices necessary for the development of more market-creating innovative-driven enterprises, Inuwa urged all stakeholders to take the implementation of the NSA as a collective responsibility.
“To make the most out of the provisions of the Startup Act, we are committed to strengthening collaboration with public sector stakeholders and entrepreneurs to proactively, anticipate disruptive innovations and their implications, build capacity and a conducive environment to unlock their potential and recognize new niches for industries. This way, stakeholders will invest in our creative entrepreneurial population, while also building bridges towards achieving sustainable and inclusive growth”, he concluded.