President Muhammadu on Wednesday signed into law the Nigeria Start-up Bill, with the hope easing the path for tech-savvy Nigerian youths to succeed in the area of business, science and technology.
Also, to show good faith the Federal Government has set up N10 billion Investment Fund for young innovators, as well as incentives and tax holidays to encourage local innovators.
Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after the brief signing ceremony at the President’s office.
According to him, the new Act started as an Executive Bill initiated by President Buhari with the collaboration of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy and the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
He explained that before the passage of the Bill, young innovators from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria were engaged, adding that the Act provides the legal and strategic framework for the innovators to make their contributions to the country.
Pantami also said that out of the seven unicorns in Africa, five are from Nigeria, pointing out that a market value of each unicorn worths $1billion.
A unicorn, he explained, is a privately held startup company valued at over US$1 billion.
The Minister however said there will be a Presidential Council on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship to be chaired by the President, while the Vice President will serve as the Vice Chairman.
Explaining further, Pantami said the Council will have membership from the government and private sectors as well as representatives from the academia.
He said: “The Council under the Chairmanship of the President would help to curb the incessant harassment of the Nigerian youths seen with laptops computers by the security agencies who always tagged them as “yahoo yahoo boys”.
Meanwhile, the Minister has revealed that in recognition of the efforts of the Nigeria government in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Microsoft Incorporated has decided to train no fewer than five million Nigerians on high demands skills geared towards job creation.
He also disclosed that the ICT contributed 18.42% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year alone, while the entire contribution of Communication and Digital Economy was 40% overall.