By Babajide Komolafe
Technological experts at the ongoing Lagos State Economic Summit, Ehingbeti, have stressed the need for governments to maintain policy consistency for technological innovations to drive development as Nigeria is gradually adjusting to the realities of the fourth industrial revolution.
They spoke at the plenary session on “Unleashing Disruptive Innovation for Development”.
Speaking during the session, the Commissioner for Economic and Budget Planning who is also a Co-chair of the summit, Mr. Samuel Egube explained that Ehingbeti was “about Lagos and not the state government. It is about the state to take certain actions and it is also to encourage the private sector to take actions”.
Commenting on a strategy that must be leveraged to lay the foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the state, Mr. Joseph Tegbe, Partner, Head of Advisory, KPMG said: “Fiscal tax incentives and tax waivers are important for technological innovators. Really, research and development incentives for technological innovation have not been fully implemented in this country.
This is something we need to look at especially for young startups that are leveraging creative technology and unleashing innovation. Tax waivers even for local technological manufacturers are extremely important”.
“One thing that is also very critical is government consistency. We can put waivers in place, incentives in place; but if you implement tax and incentives in the first or two years, there is a reversal of policy. That will mean three step forward six steps backward”.
“There is nothing more detrimental to policy than inconsistency. There should be clarity in policy, and once there is clarity, then you can hold all parties to their responsibilities”.
On her part, Alice Tomdio of Paystack, said there should be a massive drive to get young people involved at an early age, “If we want to transform Lagos, the idea starts from school. You need to make people see that this is viable, possible and there is value in working with software companies.
“It means a change in social attitudes and change in culture and teaches people that startups are good. There is a need to create awareness on building, creating and working in startups to change,” she stated.
While the Managing Director, Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr. Ola Orekunrin, was of the opinion that the nation had placed too much emphasis on tertiary education without allowing industries to drive its educational sector, he stressed that, “we need more industry participation to drive our educational systems.
“We should have a more flexible transition to work for secondary school exit, and closer relationship with industry. We put too much emphasis on tertiary institutions in the first place, there should be some programme that allows people to learn in the evening, while working during the days,” she maintained.