The Nigerian senate recently passed the Nigeria startup bill (NSB). The bill’s passage followed the adoption of a report of the senate committee on ICT and cybersecurity at the plenary.
Mr. Oseni Yakubu, chairman of the committee that presented the report, disclosed that the bill sought to establish the national council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He further revealed that the council will create and develop an enabling environment for technology-enabled startups in Nigeria.
The bill which has been made available to the public, seeks to request an act to provide for the ease of doing business in the country, to ensure transparency, efficiency, and productivity, and for other related matters which passed the second reading.
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After consideration, the bill was referred by Senate President Ahmed Lawan to the committee on Trade and Investment for further legislative input. The committee was then given two weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.
Recall that earlier this year, in March 2022, Nigeria’s startup bill was sent to the national assembly and received by the Nigerian senate. The bill was accompanied by a letter from the presidency which stated that the startup bill seeks to position the country’s startup ecosystem and to establish a national council for digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
The letter reads; “The Nigeria startup bill 2021, aims to position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as the leading digital technology center in Africa, having excellent innovators with cutting edge skills and exportable capacity.
“In order to do this, the Bill seeks to establish a national council for digital innovation and entrepreneurship. While hoping this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the senate. Please accept, distinguished senate president, the assurances of my best regards”.
The bill which was signed by the President is aimed at providing a structured regulatory framework for startups in the country. The truth is this, without an enabling environment, quality infrastructure, loans, etc, regardless of how innovative startups want to be, it will stifle their growth.
An enabling environment will enable them to thrive, which can also improve the confidence of investors in the Nigerian startup ecosystem. The bill also seeks to promote local content and as well propel Nigerian startups to the global stage, which makes room for them to compete and increase their customer base, which will increase their revenue.
Aside from the increase in revenue for these startups, considering the intrinsic value they add to an economy, they will be helpful to the Nigerian struggling economy by also bringing in local and foreign investors. Therefore, it is imperative that the bill is approved to enable these startups to operate with ease.
With the bill one step closer to the Presidential assent, if approved, this will see that the Nigerian start-up ecosystem will thrive due to the enabling environment. These startups are also seeking loans, tax breaks, incentives, and credit guarantees. Hopefully, all of these will be fully implemented by the government to enable them to thrive effortlessly.
The bill which is stipulated to pass through 3 readings with the house of reps as the next and final phase, hopefully, it will be passed as a law.