The Nigerian Senate passed the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) 2022 on Wednesday, 20 July 2022, which aims to provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operations of startups in Nigeria.
The approval of the bill followed a report by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity. Presenting his report, the committee chair, Senator Yakubu Oseni, noted that the bill would establish the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
According to him, upon inception, the council would create and develop a stimulating environment for technology start-ups in Nigeria.
While the bill is still pending in the House of Representatives, with Senate approval, Nigeria is getting closer to a law that will accelerate the growth seen in the country’s tech ecosystem.
Objectives of the bill
The NSB is a joint initiative of the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of Nigeria’s digital economy through co-created regulation. One of its goals is to bridge the engagement gap between startups and regulators.
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The bill also aims to provide for the creation, development and operation of startups in the country through incentives such as tax breaks, government loans and credit guarantee schemes. In addition, the NSB is making provisions to promote local content and provide the right infrastructure needed for the growth of startups, all in an effort to position Nigeria as a leader in the technology space.
Timeline of the bill
Harmonization of existing laws and regulations with input fed into the legal framework of key ecosystem leaders (MDAs, states, networks).
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First draft of the bill: Ecosystem leaders and representatives review the initial draft, as well as the Presidential Working Group, composed of MDA decision-makers critical to the implementation of parts of the bill.
Presidential announcement and City Hall meetings are taking place for public consultation and validation of the bill’s second draft with state-level ecosystem stakeholders in all geopolitical zones.
Final design produced: Drafting teams take all input and revisions are made to be incorporated into the final invoice.
Bill submitted to the President, who then submits Executive Bill to the National Assembly.
The Nigerian Senate approved the bill and sent it to the House of Representatives.
What you should know
According to the president’s senior special assistant for digital transformation, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, the implementation and state approval of the bill would require the government to remain committed and cooperate on its implementation. He added that its success depends on the participation of all stakeholders of the ecosystem, including legislators, policy makers and practitioners. Meanwhile, the Lagos state government had recently declared its willingness to domesticate the bill after it was passed into law at the federal level. Other states of the federation are expected to do the same for the bill to have a nationwide impact.