Nigeria launches online portal to boost startup-government engagement
Thirteen months after the enactment of the Startup Act in Nigeria, the government has introduced the Startup Support and Engagement Portal. Minister for Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, unveiled this portal during the week.
The Startup Engagement Portal serves as the gateway to the provisions outlined in the Startup Act. Positioned as the central hub, it is designed to streamline startup processes. Section 30 of the Act establishes this portal as a comprehensive resource for startups, offering assistance in navigating paperwork and facilitating registration with key agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Notably, startups registered on the portal, referred to as "labeled startups," stand to benefit from fiscal advantages, including tax breaks.
Furthermore, the Act implies that only startups registered on the Portal will be permitted to operate within the country. Tijani emphasized in a tweet that the Portal will be crucial in selecting representatives for the Startup Consultative Forum. This forum, in turn, will be responsible for appointing leaders for the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NCDIE), the governing body tasked with implementing the Startup Act.
While Nigeria's execution of its Startup Act lags behind by a year, the delay can be seen in light of the transitional phase following elections. Presently, Nigeria stands among five countries—Tunisia, Senegal, DRC, and Togo—that have enacted a Startup Act. Notably, other African nations like Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya are reportedly in the process of formulating similar legislation. The African tech landscape often witnesses clashes between tech stakeholders and government officials, primarily stemming from a lack of well-defined rules and regulations governing the tech ecosystem. In this context, the introduction of startup bills is anticipated to establish an enabling environment for startups and assume a catalytic role in fostering the growth of the ecosystem.