Nigerian Communications Minister Passes Startup Bill to Justice Ministry

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The Nigeria Startup Bill, which happens to be the first joint initiative between the Nigerian presidency and the Nigerian tech ecosystem, aims to harness the potential of the country’s digital economy by providing startups with regulatory clarity, improved access to capital, and an enabling environment to support their growth and scalability.

The Bill, which began drafting in July 2021, is a collection of inputs from several members of the ecosystem and government through a series of townhall meetings, webinars, and rallies. 

On Thursday, 14th October 2021, during the virtual Nigeria Startup Bill National Stakeholders Roundtable, a Pre-Summit event of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) gave a keynote speech where he addressed the Bill.

In his presentation, the Minister, Prof. Pantami started by praising the efforts of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for consistently generating opportunities for public-private sector dialogues on economic growth.

He went ahead to stress the relevance of startups to Nigeria’s economic progress and the globe at large, and also noted that the Nigeria Startup Bill is a step in the right direction towards encouraging Nigerian entrepreneurs to develop and flourish.

Regarding the status of the Bill, the Minister said that the Bill is now in the hands of the Minister of Justice, and he is making significant efforts to guarantee that it receives favourable treatment from the National Assembly.

“…I have communicated the progress we have made so far (with the Bill) to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice so that they can support what we have been doing.”

“… I have sent a letter to him officially on behalf of all the stakeholders here, and on Monday, I engaged him physically so that we will be able to facilitate the Bill and get its approval as soon as possible,” he continued.

In addition, the Minister reminded the stakeholders present that startups are not job seekers but employment producers. As such, the nation needs to discover new ways to establish a supportive framework for them to expand and scale, as this will inspire more individuals who are ready to think outside the box to come up with innovative ideas.

“… we have people that can make this country very proud. What they need is for the government to provide an enabling environment for them.”

He (Prof. Pantami) concluded the address by repeating his support for the Bill and pledged to continue to engage stakeholders to ensure that they support the Bill since it would serve as a turning point for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy.

Meanwhile, support for the Bill has continued to gain traction. Last week, young people held rallies across the country showing support for the bill. Key stakeholders from the presidency and tech ecosystem are hoping the bill will get passed into law before the year runs out.

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