PMB presiding over inauguration of the national council for digital innovation and entrepreneurship on the Nigeria Startup Act 2022. Photo: State House
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the mandate to guide the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act of 2022.
At the inauguration of the 14-member Council chaired by him, the President directed the Secretariat, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, to ensure faithful implementation of the Act, which provides incentives and support for start-ups, including tax breaks and access to funding.
He said Nigeria had been at the forefront of the remarkable growth of startups in Africa, with Nigerian start-ups raising over $4 billion between 2019 and 2022.
‘‘This growth was fuelled by a surge in demand for digital services as people worldwide turned to technology to stay connected, work remotely, and access essential goods and services largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘‘In Africa, the startup ecosystem has also been growing at a remarkable pace.
‘‘In 2022, African startups raised a record of US$5.4 Billion in funding,’’ he said.
President Buhari charged members of the Council to harness the potential of Nigeria’s young and innovative population, who have demonstrated ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit in creating innovative solutions to the challenges of the nation and the continent.
While commending the efforts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami and the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, for the achievement, President Buhari acknowledged that as Nigeria was aiming to become a global talent-factory through the implementation of the Startup Act 2022, her startup ecosystem had still been facing significant challenges, such as access to funding, support infrastructure, and skilled talent.
‘‘The provisions of the Nigeria Startup Act 2022 represent an important step towards addressing these challenges and promoting the growth of a more vibrant and inclusive startup ecosystem in Nigeria.
‘‘Furthermore, implementation of the Act will lead to consolidation and further development of the gains recorded by Nigeria’s digital economy, in the last four years, in the areas of contribution to GDP and increased revenue generation, among others,’’ he said.
Members of the Council include Vice-President Osinbajo as Vice Chairman, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as presiding officer of the Council in the absence of the Chairman and the Vice Chairman, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Others are four representatives of the Start-up Consultative Forum, one representative of the Nigeria Computer Society, one representative of the Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) and the Director-General, NITDA, who will serve as Secretary of the Council.
In his remarks, Pantami said the inauguration of the Council would support the administration to consolidate the gains and achievements recorded in the digital economy sector.
‘‘This administration has set three unprecedented records when it comes to ICT contributions to GDP. For example in the first quarter of 2020, ICT alone contributed to 14.07 per cent to the country’s GDP.
‘‘In the second quarter of 2021, ICT alone, without digital services, contributed 17.92 per cent to GDP while in the second quarter of 2022, ICT contributed 18.44 per cent.
‘‘Annually, this administration has been setting new records when it comes to ICT contributions to GDP,’’ he said.
The Minister also used the occasion to apprise the Council that Nigeria’s broadband penetration, which he said was now 100 percent with the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet service.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu