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  President Muhammadu Buhari has approved Nigeria Startup Bill to be passed by the National Assembly. This was disclosed by the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami on Tuesday at a Breakfast Interactive Session held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos.
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The Bill has been considered after about a year since it was announced. The Nigerian Startup Bill is a collective undertaking to create an enabling ecosystem within the country to enable startups thrive.  The initiative is led by the Nigerian presidency, in partnership with 30 tech leaders, including Ventures Platform founder, Kola Aina and Future Africa founder Iyin Aboyeji, NITDA officials and the Minister of Digital Economy Isa Pantami. The event which was held on Tuesday themed “Fostering an Enabling Environment for Startup Growth” was designed for the minister and other public stakeholders to meet with the private players in the ecosystem to discuss and deliberate on strategies and directions to take to ensure a seamless implementation of the bill. The event was an open discussion where questions were asked, and suggestions and recommendations were given.  The dialogue began on a relatively uneasy note, however,  as the meeting progressed, it became less confrontational with pertinent and understanding questions asked, and critical suggestions were made.  Dr. Isa Patami speaking on the bill stated six pillars that enable the smooth implementation as the committee moved ahead: First, the conception of the market;  Second, consolidation of the ecosystem which is to formulate a unified front in the startup ecosystem; The third one is building the ecosystem; the fourth is networking within and outside the ecosystem to facilitate growth; the fifth is working together with the government, of which the minister advised the private sector to be purposeful in working with the governmental bodies. And finally, honesty on the part of all stakeholders and private sectors. Further, Pantami indicated that the presidency is ready to make sure the bill satisfies all that needs to be and reach an excellent execution. He applauded, “the work of the startup ecosystem for pushing Nigeria to become the largest digital economy in Africa and it’s time to work closely together to achieve greater hallmark.”
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There were questions and recommendations about how the government can make data accessible to Nigerians and develop a hub where people can go to create at a subsidized cost or for free.  The attendees also indicated that for the bill to be successful,  the government must involve people who have first-hand experience with each sector. For example, they asked how the government will want to formulate a payment policy in Nigeria without involving Paystack and Flutterwave? How would they want to prepare a policy in edutech without involving the ULessons and other players?  The attendees stated that the government must start involving industry players in making policies that are likely going to affect the industry. The minister agreed to this. In acknowledgement of engaging members of the ecosystem, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, NSB Lead and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation, said that the NSB has a big tent approach as one of its key pillars. According to him,  “The big tent approach speaks to the collaboration of all stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem. We believe firmly that the ecosystem is comprised primarily of practitioners and policy makers, and that both are equally essential to the growth of the ecosystem.  A tent has no doors, so it fundamentally welcomes all stakeholders to come to add value and hold up the tent.”  He further added that: “In the light of this, the NSB has several focus groups with members of the ecosystem across different sectors including late-stage startups, early-stage startups, investors, academia etc. We’ve held events and town hall meetings, and also have WhatsApp groups that cater to these groups. Everyone is truly welcome.” Featured image source: Premium Times Nigeria
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This article was first published on 26th February 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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