The federal government of Nigeria recently disclosed that they are working on modalities to ensure that tech start-ups in the country can sell their solutions with ease to the government.
This statement was disclosed by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, at the co-create 2022 tech exhibition event in Lagos state, which had in attendance startups from different sectors such as fintech, edtechs, among others.
He further disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently gave approval to the ministry of communications and the digital economy, as well as its agencies to work closely with the start-up ecosystem on how the government can procure solutions from start-ups without the usual bureaucratic processes associated with government’s contract.
He revealed that the first step in that direction, is that the National Information Technology Agency, (NITDA) would invite all start-ups in the country to come and showcase their solutions, while all government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) will be there to look at solutions that can meet their needs.
Great to see that start-ups in Nigeria are beginning to receive the needed recognition from the government, which according to them will lead to the patronage of these start-ups that will no doubt provide solutions to challenging issues faced in the country.
However, this shouldn’t be a seasonal movement from the government, rather it is ideal that they constantly keep tabs on the tech ecosystem to be on the lookout for latest developments emanating from the sector that will be beneficial to the country.
In Nigeria, there are so many problems that require innovative solutions, therefore, this collaboration with the government will not only open doors for these start-ups, but will also enable them to scale up and provide solutions to problems in the country.
In Africa, Nigeria ranks first as the country with the highest number of start-ups, which was estimated at around 3,300 in 2020, with a majority of them operating within the fintech sector, thereby taking advantage of the under-provision of bank services in the country.
Unfortunately, some of these start-ups continue to underperform due to the challenging environment and unfriendly government policies. One common problem most of these start-ups are faced with is the outrageous license fee which most especially affects fintech start-ups.
Many start-ups have difficulty in affording these fees, some even have to go as far as partnering with banks, before their software can be accepted. These government policies have been proven to be counterproductive to driving the digital economy of the country forward.
Since the government has disclosed its plan to buy tech solutions from these start-ups, there is no disputing the fact that the government still remains a key component of the tech ecosystem in the country. Ideally, they create enabling environments and interventions in terms of policy and infrastructure.
Another challenge some of these start-ups are faced with, is their inability to secure seed funds to grow. Unfortunately, the government can’t provide seed funds for every start-up in the country. However, the government should pay close attention to the tech ecosystem and find start-ups that they feel will be pivotal in solving challenging problems in the country to properly fund them.
It is ideal that the government collaborates with these start-ups, because through strong partnership, technology has solved some of the most complex problems faced by humans.
Also, the ICT sector, if properly funded, has the capability to take the country out of poverty, hence the need for strategic positioning and effective collaboration between the government and stakeholders in the sector.
Once these start-ups are properly funded, they can scale up and even get to compete with other start-ups globally. The economic viability of many developed nations has been traced to their thriving tech ecosystem.