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Digital Transformation: NITDA engages industry stakeholders on effective Startup Act implementation

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, at a recent stakeholder engagement in Lagos, highlights benefits and opportunities of Nigeria Startup Act to youths, enabling environment for startups, and digital ecosystem in the West African country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As part of the regulatory agency’s continued effort at revitalising the startup ecosystem for sustainability in a digitally transformed country, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has engaged relevant stakeholders within the technology industry in a Digital Policy Dialogue.

ConsumerConnect reports NITDA stated the overarching objective of the stakeholder engagement is to harness ideas for the effective implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA).

The Agency disclosed the Digital Policy Dialogue session, held at the Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, in Lagos, recently was to create a veritable platform where inclusive and valuable insights are gathered from stakeholders to create a practical framework that will promote innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth within the Nigerian Startup ecosystem.

The GIZ/Digital Transformation Centre Nigeria organised the dialogue session designed to enhance policy implementation capacities in the digital innovation ecosystem, enhance stakeholder collaboration from various sectors, create an inclusive policy implementation framework, as well as promote innovation and economic growth.

Benefits of NSA to digital transformation in Nigeria

Speaking on the benefits of NSA on Digital Transformation in the West African country in his closing remark at the forum, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, gave an overview of the NSA, and highlighted the benefits as well as opportunities the policy would provide to the Nigerian youths and the country as a whole.

Inuwa, represented at the stakeholder engagement session by Dr. Aminu Lawal, his Special Adviser (SA) on Digital Transformation, stated that the NSA was passed October 2022 to create a more favourable environment for Startups in Nigeria.

The Director-General of NITDA also said: “The Act provides for several benefits for Startups, including tax incentives, access to seed funds, grants and loans, protection of intellectual property, talent development and capacity building and, regulatory support among others.”

Lauding the enactment of the Act as a step in the right direction for the Nigerian startup ecosystem, Inuwa further stated that the Act would increase visibility for Nigerian startups, which would consequently attract both foreign and domestic investment, create jobs and boost innovation.

He noted the NSA would have a significant impact on People, Processes and Technology, which are the three pillars of digital transformation.

Buttressing his point with more holistic insights on impact of the policy on Nigerians, the NITDA Director-General disclosed that training and mentorship provided by the Act would enable the required skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the digital age.  “This will help to create a more skilled workforce in the digital sector and boost the digital economy,” he said.

As regards the impact of the Act on Processes, he as well disclosed “the Act’s provisions for support and access to funds would help startups to develop and deliver digital services that will digitise the processes of their customers from different sectors.”

Expatiating on the last pillar, Technology, the NITDA Chief Executive stated the Act would lead to the exploration of emerging technologies in developing solutions that would attract investment in digital solutions in the ecosystem.

According to him, the Act would increase access to data, improve collaboration between startups and the government, and also, improve access to digital services.

Inuwa also pledged to work with relevant stakeholders across all sectors of the economy to make startup support services available as well as increasing all indices necessary for the development of more market-creating innovative-driven enterprises.

NITDA’s commitment to collaboration with stakeholders, entrepreneurs

In a bid to attain effective policy implementation, Inuwa further urged all stakeholders to take the implementation of the NSA as a collective responsibility.

The Director-General said: “To make the most out of the provisions of the Startup Act, we are committed to strengthening collaboration with public sector stakeholders and entrepreneurs to proactively, anticipate disruptive innovations and their implications, build capacity and a conducive environment to unlock their potential and recognise new niches for industries.

“This way, stakeholders will invest in our creative entrepreneurial population, while also building bridges towards achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.”

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