The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has appealed to members of the House of Representatives to back an Executive Bill seeking to create enabling environment for technology innovators in Nigeria to maximise their potential by becoming job creators in the ICT sector.
Pantami stated that if the FG supports tech founders, it will go a long way in creating many job opportunities for the citizens. “These young entrepreneurs are not seeking jobs from the government. In fact, they are employers, not employees.
” So by implication, if we support them, that will go a long way in creating many job opportunities for our citizens.
“Because all the start-ups are not in any way potential job employees but rather potential job providers,” Pantami said.
The minister said the proposed legislation titled: “a Bill for an Act to Provide for the Creation and Development of an Enabling Environment for Technology Enabled Startups in Nigeria,” when it becomes law would attract serious investment to expand numerous business ideas by young Nigerians who come up with problem-solving innovations on daily basis without having to depend on government for sustainability.
Pantami said since the private sector controls 91 per cent of financial inflow into the economy as demonstrated by available statistics, the bill if passed would encourage investors seeking to expand innovative ideas.
He also said the bill when enacted would create a regulatory Council which would be chaired by the president, with a view to providing policy guidance to tech startups.
He said, “There are seven Unicorns in Africa and five have roots in Nigeria with offices in Nigeria but registered in other countries due to lack of enabling laws to protect their innovations and investment.
“One of the startups that came up in 2018, by 2020, their value rose to $3 trillion which is the largest in Africa, and they are based in Lagos. The essence of this Bill first of all is to create jobs for the teeming youths through these innovations and improve the economy.”
When asked by the lawmakers, if the proposed Council would not add further burden on the already overstretched federal purse, as well as its effects on the role of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Pantami disclosed that funding for startups under the new law would be in form of soft loans aides by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority with flexible interest rate and repayment timeline.
On NCC’s role, he said the Council would not affect the NCC in any way as it is in charge of telecommunications activities in the country while the Council deals with innovations in the ICT sector.