FEC approves the Nigeria Startup Bill, to be forwarded to NASS

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By Ibiyemi Mathew

The Federal Executive Council has approved the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) and will forward the Bill to the National Assembly for passage into law.

In a press statement signed by Dr Femi Adeluyi Technical Assistant (on Research & Development) to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the statement disclosed that the Bill was approved at the Council meeting on Wednesday, 15th December 2021, following the presentation of a Memo by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami).

According to Pantami, “The NSB is to provide a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups in Nigeria.”

“It will also provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria.  The NSB will further support the Federal Government’s drive towards diversifying the economy.”

According to a November 2021 Report released by The Big Deal, Nigerian startups raised $1.37 billion in 2021, ranking first in Africa. The NSB will support Nigerian startups to maintain their leading role in Africa and across the world.  It will also spur the growth of technology enabled startups and Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) in several sectors of the economy, including finance, agriculture, education, health and insurance, among other sectors.

A Report by McKinsey & Company indicated that Nigeria has roughly 3,300 tech-enabled startup companies with more than 200 of them operating in the Financial Technology (Fintech) sector. The Bill seeks to establish and strengthen the Startup ecosystem in all States of the Federation and will harmonize the laws affecting the startup ecosystem across the country.

Speaking further, Pantami noted that the Bill will create incentives to encourage the expansion of indigenous startups into different parts of Nigeria, Africa and even globally.

“A ‘Big Tent’ approach was adopted in the drafting of the Bill to ensure effective collaboration right from the grassroots. Consultations and engagements were conducted to create awareness and support for the Bill, including critical working sessions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Focus Group Sessions.

“The focus groups were categorized into early and late/growth stage startups, youth and entrepreneur support organizations, civil society organizations, investors, donors and corporate organizations. Town hall meetings were also held across all the geopolitical zones of the country.

“The NSB and other relevant policies will continue to position Nigeria to leverage technology in order to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy,” he said.