Pantami said this on Tuesday while briefing members of the House of Representatives on the importance of a bill seeking to create enabling environment for technology innovators in Nigeria to maximise their potential by becoming job creators in the sector.
Titled: “a Bill for an Act to Provide for the Creation and Development of an Enabling Environment for Technology Enabled Startups in Nigeria,” the proposed legislation, according to the minister, will attract investment to expand numerous business ideas by young Nigerians who come up with problem-solving innovations on daily basis without having to depend on the government for sustainability.
He said since the private sector controls 91 percent of financial inflow into the economy as shown by available statistics, the bill if passed into law, will encourage investors seeking to expand innovative ideas, just as he gave instances of five leading startups in Africa originating from Nigeria.
“There are seven Unicorns in Africa and five have roots and offices in Nigeria but are registered in other countries due to the lack of enabling laws to protect their innovations and investment.
“One of the startups that came up in 2018, by 2020, their value rose to $3trn which is the largest in Africa, and they are based in Lagos.
“The essence of this Bill first of all is to create jobs for the teeming youths through these innovations and improve the economy,” Pantami said.
He also said the bill when enacted will create a regulatory council that will be chaired by the President, with a view to providing policy guidance to tech startups.
“There will be a council to be chaired by the President which is the best practice anywhere in the world. He has accepted to be the chairman and my humble self as minister will deputise Mr President on the council,” the minister said.
Responding to concerns raised by the lawmakers on governance and funding of the council proposed in the bill, Pantami said the purpose of the planned law is to encourage competition and not discourage it.
Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the majority leader of the House said the interaction was necessary so as to provide background information that will enable the majority party defend the bill on the floor during debates.