The Nigeria Startup Bill is an answer to the call for harmonization of efforts from various government parastatals towards providing an enabling environment for startups and the tech industry in Nigeria. The goal of the Nigeria Startup Bill (NBS) is to ensure that every government agency is following the vision the government has for the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem, and to ensure that each body or agency isn’t working blindly and/or independently. The bill also seeks to continually revamp old laws relating to the startup space already existing.
According to The Nigeria Startup Bill website, “The Nigeria Startup Bill project is a joint initiative by Nigeria’s tech startup ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of our digital economy through co-created regulations. The Bill will ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are friendly, clear, planned and work for the tech ecosystem. This, we believe, will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for growth, attraction and protection of investment in tech startups”.
Nigeria holds the title for the country with the highest number of startups in Africa and even at that, these startups do not have the enabling environment to thrive. Nigeria ranks far below other top contenders for the aforementioned title when it comes to having a friendly business environment. The Nigeria Startup Bill, therefore, aims to revamp the Nigerian business environment and create an enabling environment for businesses, especially startups that are contributing massively to the economy, to thrive.
The Nigeria Startup Bill and related efforts have been on for quite some time now. The first draft aimed at harmonizing existing laws/regulations and feeding inputs to the legal framework from key ecosystem leaders such as MDAs, States, Networks, etc., was completed in June 2021. The final draft was submitted in September this year and the bill was submitted in October to the President.
Speaking on progress made, Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation and the NSB Lead said, “The NSB is one among a series of key activities the Presidency is using to drive the building of a more sustainable ecosystem for young people in Nigeria to thrive and scale.”
“The bill is being proposed to provide an enabling environment for the growth of startups and guard against different challenges faced by startups such as seemingly disruptive regulations, lack of regulatory certainty, and weak infrastructure like broadband, open data, and digital platforms that limit the optimisation of the many benefits of the digital economy”, Kola Aina, Founder and General Partner of Ventures Platform Fund commented.