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NITDA inaugurates Startup Labelling Committee for implementation of Nigeria Startup Act

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, stresses the Startup Labelling recognises eligible startups, and grants them access to the various benefits outlined in the Nigeria Startup Act 2022

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has inaugurated the Startup Labelling Committee as a crucial step in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA).

ConsumerConnect reports Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, inducted the Committee, which comprises representatives from both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.

It is recalled the Nigeria Startup Act, enacted October 19, 2022, has stablished a legal and institutional framework to foster the development and growth of Nigerian startups.

NITDA emphasised a critical provision within the Act is the Startup Label.

The Information Technology (IT) sector regulatory agency also noted that the label recognises eligible startups, and grants them access to the various benefits outlined in the NSA.

The issuance of the Startup Label hinges on a thorough assessment and validation process to ensure a startup meets the eligibility criteria as defined by the Act, stated the agency.

It said the newly-inaigurated Committee would play a pivotal role in overseeing this process.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, in Abuja, Inuwa emphasised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s unwavering dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of young Nigerian innovators.

The Director-General of NITDA acknowledged the pivotal role startups would play in propelling the West African country’s economic development.

He equally stressed the significance of the Committee’s work in nurturing and supporting these enterprises in the digital ecosystem.

Inuwa further elaborated on the various initiatives and support mechanisms the Nigerian Government plans to implement.

According to him, such initiatives are aimed at minimising hurdles, and providing financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs in the country.

Inuwa expressed optimism about the future, asserting that with the right support, these budding innovators could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises.

Such enterprises, in turn, can contribute significantly to job creation and the overall economic prosperity of Nigeria in line with President Tinubu’s priority area to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth,” he averred.

The NITDA Chief Executive, therefore, urged industry stakeholders to join hands in creating a robust ecosystem that would empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to flourish and contribute to the country’s progress.

The Startup Labelling Committee, Inuwa said, would be instrumental in establishing a robust legal and institutional framework for the successful implementation of the Startup Act.

Their collaborative efforts will ensure a participatory approach that benefits all stakeholders within the Nigerian startup ecosystem, said he.

Inuwa also explained: “The composition of the committee reflects the emphasis on collaboration. “Representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders will bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. “This collaborative approach is expected to lead to a more efficient and effective labelling process, ultimately benefiting the growth of Nigerian startups.”

Also speaking on the roles and responsibilities of Committee, Victoria Fabunmi, National Coordinator, Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation (ONDI), enumerated the terms of reference for the Advisory Committee to include the following:
Review and evaluate start-ups’ applications for label based on criteria defined in the Act and any additional criteria that may ensure quality for the label;

Periodically review and update additional labelling criteria to ensure alignment with industry trends; and Conduct an impartial evaluation of submitted applications for Startup Label.

Besides, Fabummi  noted the Committee would recommend on issuance or otherwise of Startup Label based on defined criteria; Provide feedback/comments/recommendations on areas of improvement where a startup’s application is rejected; Where necessary, dedicate time to further engage startups for more clarity/details on information provided.

It will also periodically review its previous activities and data on labelling, to identify/recommend opportunities and gaps (e.g., DEI, sectors, capacity etc.) that policymakers may need to place added emphasis on; Periodically review workload capacity and recommend a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period.

This is in consideration of the fact that the Committee is not a full-time position; and Members shall be subject to a Code of Conduct and must duly sign this prior to commencement of duties, stated the National Coordinator of ONDI.

Fabunmi said stated that the Labelling Committee comprises nine members from the following: Four representatives of Incubators (ISN Rep, North and South); Two Representatives of the Public Sector (NITDA, NSIA); Two Representatives of the Civil Society’ and Portal Coordinator – to serve as Secretary.

The agency emphasised the inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act.

With a multi-stakeholder Committee guiding the process, the Act has the potential to unlock the immense potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development, said NITDA.

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