Pantami Tells Startups to Explore FGs Policies for Growth

Professor Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has pushed Nigerian startups and innovators to own current rules in order to further consolidate and strengthen the ecosystem’s success.

Pantami gave the order when he met with indigenous innovators in Lagos to discuss how to strengthen the Ecosystem and forward the digital economy agenda.

The Minister stated that the goal of the interactive session organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was to discover firsthand what the ecosystem wants from the government in order to thrive.

“The importance of a vibrant, functional innovation ecosystem cannot be underscored and that is why we have taken deliberate steps to organise this interactive session specifically, to address certain pertinent issues.

Firstly, how to consolidate our ecosystem, secondly to understand the market and its challenges thirdly, to map our market and set targets, to strengthen our networking strategies and more importantly, collaborating and partnering with government.

This is key to the success of our ecosystem because government has a major role to play in providing an enabling environment”.

The Minister emphasised that the Federal Government is open and willing to suggestions on what it can do to further ensure the success of the ecosystem.

He said, “If there are challenges in implementing any of the policies we have put in place for the sector to thrive, please let us know”.

He cited the National Startup Bill, the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the National Policy for the Development of Indigenous Content in the Telecommunications Sector among others, as examples of government’s commitment to enact and implement policies that enable the ecosystem.

Pantami disclosed that incentives like grants, tax and fiscal incentives, startup labelling, seed funding for startups, tax holidays have been provided for, in the plan to provide the necessary support by government.

He noted that Nigeria as the largest digital economy in Africa which is in the process of deploying fifth generation networks (5G), the immense human potential and the necessary collaborations and partnerships between government and the ecosystem, the country will in no time take its pride of place as the continent’s technology giant.

Pantami mentioned that the presidency is ready to make sure the bill meets excellent execution. He commended, “the work of the startup ecosystem for pushing Nigeria to become the largest digital economy in Africa and it’s time to work closely together to achieve greater hallmark.”

There were queries and recommendations about how the government could make data more inexpensive for Nigerians and create a hub where people could develop for free or at a reduced rate. Attendees also urged that in order for the bill to be successful, the government should include people with first-hand knowledge of each area.

How can you develop a payment policy in Nigeria without using Paystack and Flutterwave, for example? How do you plan to establish edutech policy without including ULessons and other stakeholders?

The government needs to start involving industry actors in the development of policies that would have an impact on the industry. This was agreed upon by the minister.

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