Nigeria joins Kenya, 3 other African Countries to Pass a Startup Bill
The Nigerian Startup Bill was passed on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. The senators passed the bill following consideration of a report from the Committee on ICT and Cyber Security. Nigeria is now the fifth African country to pass the bill, following Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security, Senator Oseni Yakubu, the bill seeks to establish the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The council is supposed to create and develop an enabling environment for technology-enabled start-ups in Nigeria.
This announcement comes nearly four months after the bill was introduced in the National Assembly in March of this year, accompanied by a letter from the presidency. According to the letter, the Startup Bill aims to position the country’s startup ecosystem as Africa’s leading digital technology center.
With the bill one step closer to presidential approval, Nigeria’s tech ecosystem may soon benefit from a better enabling environment. While Nigerian tech startups face a lack of basic necessities such as consistent power supply and limited funding, they also face several regulatory challenges.
One of the 3 objectives of the Nigeria Startup Bill is to bridge the engagement gap between startups and regulators and ensure that harmful regulations are guided against. The bill is available to the public, and so is a summary of the bill. Among other things, the bill also seeks to provide for the establishment, development, and operation of startups in the country via incentives like tax breaks, government loans, and credit guarantee schemes.
With the Nigerian Senate’s passing, the bill now moves onto the House of Representatives (HoR) where it will pass through 3 readings. If the Green Chamber is satisfied with the contents of the bill, the bill will be sent to the president for his assent, and will thus become law.
The timeline of the bill
June–September 2021: The Nigeria Startup Bill draft is created by the Nigerian presidency, in collaboration 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.
October 2021: A draft of the bill is submitted to the Presidency and the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
December 2021: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approves the bill.
February 2022: Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, passes the bill to the National Assembly.
March 2022: The bill reaches the National Assembly and is received by the Nigerian Senate.
June 2022: Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous state, announces plans to domesticate the bill at the state level.
July 2022: Nigerian Senate approves the bill and passes it to the House of Representatives.
How the Nigerian Startup Bill will Benefit Nigeria’s Tech Ecosystem
The Bill will provide startups with a defined regulatory framework that will allow them to operate confidently within the bounds of the law, which comes at an unquestionably critical time. It will also boost investor confidence in the sector.
The bill also intends to support indigenous media and launch Nigerian start-ups into the global tech and start-up scene, providing them with access to the global marketplace and increasing their visibility, clientele, and income.
The first is that this bill will elevate Nigeria to the top of Africa’s tech investment destinations. This means that hundreds of new startups will receive funding to help them launch and scale their businesses. Second, wages for young people will skyrocket. More importantly, Nigerian youth will now compete on a global scale. As a result, more jobs will be created, wages will be raised, and local economies will benefit.