Friday, 22nd September 2023

Government approves tax reliefs, other incentives for startups

By Adeyemi Adepetun, Lagos and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
24 May 2022   |   4:05 am
The Federal Government has approved a plan to incentivise and further harness Nigeria's digital innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), minister of Communications and Digital Economy. Photo: TWITTER/FMoCDENigeria

•NITDA claims Startup Bill is 90% ready
The Federal Government has approved a plan to incentivise and further harness Nigeria’s digital innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Part of these incentives, according to the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would include tax reliefs, pioneer startups incentives, among others.

NITDA said this came following the presentation of a memo by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of May 18.

The technology development agency, in a statement at the weekend, said the approval would aid the implementation of strategies to encourage and support the development and growth of more Innovation-Driven Enterprises (IDEs), which have the potential to create millions of additional jobs in the country.

It noted that this would also help to develop innovative solutions to societal problems, and rapidly grow, as well as diversify the Nigerian economy, in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.

NITDA said a number of the proposed strategies resulted from recommendations that were made at an interactive forum held on February 22, where the minister led a Federal Government delegation on a working visit to the Lagos digital innovation ecosystem.

NITDA explained that the visit provided a useful platform for open and interactive discussions on the ecosystem’s pertinent challenges and interventions required from the government to enable the ecosystem achieve its full potential, with143 ICT and startup companies in attendance.

The delegation, according to the agency, also paid a visit to three selected tech startups, namely: Flutterwave (currently valued at $3 billion), Treepz (with a current funding of $3.1 million) and Reliance Health (with $48.3 million in funding).

The technology development agency noted that under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria became home to five of about eight Unicorns (startup companies valued at over $1 billion on the African Continent.

It explained that Nigeria’s startup ecosystem attracted about 35 per cent (estimated at $$1.4 billion) of the over $4 billion raised by African startups, which is the highest raised by any startup ecosystem on the continent.

The Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) was earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council and forwarded to the National Assembly and the process is about 90 per cent complete. NITDA said the approval of the incentives at the Council will consolidate the gains recorded for far in the NSB process.

It stressed that the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) emphasises the importance of the innovation and startup ecosystem to the development of an indigenous digital economy.

NITDA assured that the ministry will continue to position Nigeria to develop this ecosystem in order to transform Nigeria into a country with a sustainable and thriving digital economy.