President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday inaugurated the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the mandate to guide the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) 2022.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 14-member Council chaired by him, President Buhari 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.
The inauguration preceded the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and had members of the Digital Innovation Council in attendance.
The President said Nigeria has been at the forefront of the remarkable growth of startups in Africa, with Nigerian start-ups raising over US$4 billion between 2019 and 2022.
‘‘It is worth noting the remarkable growth of start-ups worldwide, with over US$400 Billion of venture funding accessed in 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.
He commended the efforts of Pantami and the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, for this achievement.
The President acknowledged that as Nigeria aims to become a global talent factory through the implementation of the Startup Act 2022, its startup ecosystem still faces significant challenges, such as access to funding, support infrastructure, and skilled talent.
‘‘These remain major barriers to the growth of the ecosystem, particularly for early-stage start-ups.
‘‘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.
The members of the Council include the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Vice Chairman; the Minister responsible for Communications and Digital Economy, who will preside over the Council in the absence of the President and Vice President; the Minister responsible for Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Investment; the Minister responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation and the 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.