The Presidency and some ecosystem stakeholders in May, held a virtual ecosystem townhall meeting on creating a startup bill to regulate tech-enabled companies in Nigeria and provide an enabling environment for them to operate.
Explaining the need for a startup act, Adia Sowho said, “Many of us have tried to do business with certain countries and institutions, and many of them often cite regulatory uncertainty as the reason they can’t interact with us”
The Nigeria startup bill is a joint project by the Presidency and startups in the tech ecosystem to harness the potential of the country’s digital economy, foster growth and protect tech startups through co-created regulations.
According to the President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, “Our young people are our most valuable natural resource, at home and abroad. Their ingenuity, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all.
We will partner with the legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled”
Just on Monday, the official website of the startup bill was launched. Contained in it are important information including details of what is to happen in the next coming months.
As stated by the website’s timeline, there will be a presidential announcement and townhall meeting with ecosystem stakeholders at state level that will allow for public consultation and validation of the second draft of the bill.
This is because the bill is specifically for tech companies, so insights and contributions from as many important players in the techspace will be needed to make it work.
In September, all of the inputs made will be revised by the drafting team and the final bill will be produced. This bill will then be submitted to the President’s who forwards the Executive one to the National Assembly in October.
Although this seems like a great development, many Nigerians have registered their displeasure and worries about the bill following previous actions by the government like the Twitter ban which is yet to be lifted and the restrictions placed on trading cryptocurrency.
According to many twitter users, the announcement of the bill “smells like bad news.” We truly hope they are wrong this time.
In attendance at the meeting held in May 2021 were some of Nigeria’s leading startups representatives like Adia Sowho, Thrive Agric Acting CEO; Future Africa’s general partner, Iyin Aboyeji; Kola Aina, founding partner of Ventures Platform; and Adaeze Sokan, Ventures Platform’s director of strategy and policy.
Also present were Oswald Guobadia, senior special assistant to the Nigerian president on digital transformation; Ife Adebayo, special assistant to the vice president on innovation and entrepreneurship; and Jon Stever, managing director of Innovation for Policy Foundation (i4Policy), a public interest foundation that supports public policy co-creation.