Yesterday, June 15, 2022, the National Assembly held a public hearing on Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB), a bill for an act to provide for the creation and development of an enabling environment for technology-enabled start-ups in Nigeria. The hearing which was chaired by the Chairman Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Yakubu Oseni, had representation from the private sector, technology ecosystem, civil society organizations, professional bodies, and relevant parastatals and MDAs, most of whom were in complete support of the bill.

In his remark, Senator Yakubu Oseni who considered it an honor and privilege to preside over what he described as a momentous hearing,’ said that “It is no longer news that ICT has become extremely important in the home, workplace, school, and other socioeconomic environments today. Let me reiterate that digital technology has become the driver of human endeavor. It is the vehicle for easing business and service delivery, and the pivot for the transformation of economies. In fact, it has become integral to human survival.”

Additionally, Senator Yakubu noted that “as I have said in several forums, the National Assembly is interested in giving Nigerians frameworks that do not only provide competitive advantages but are also pragmatic and enduring.” Reiterating the importance of the bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi noted that “we are discussing a profound bill that if handled properly would produce the next set of billionaires in the world. I have no doubt about it.

Contributing at the hearing, the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, represented by Mr. Nurudeen Aderintan, noted that “most of the targets of the government towards being paperless by 2030, or achieving 95% literacy by the same year will not be possible unless we adopt the startup regulation.” Similarly, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said that “startups are using IT as an enabler or inspiration to come up with new business propositions. It is not just about IT but using digital offerings to augment solutions to traditional businesses.

Others who expressed support for the bill were, the leadership of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority who expressed delight with the bill and promised to send in a few recommendations to the National Assembly. Additionally, Mr. Bayo Mohammed, President of the Nigeria Computer Society stated that “we are in support of the Startup bill 100%.”  Also expressing support for the bill was Lanre Adelanwa, General Secretary of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, who reiterate his institute’s support for the bill noting that “we cannot wait for it to become law because it will transform our industry.”

In his closing remarks, Senator Yakubu Oseni commended all of those that supported the bill saying that “I am a youth too and I thank you all for supporting this important bill.” Finally, the project manager of the Nigeria Startup Bill project, Mr. Victor Famobude expressed great delight with the Public Hearing and for all the support that the bill got. He also noted that the bill was an act for the youths and passing it into law will be a defining moment for young people across the country.

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