Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Nigeria Startup Bill to drive the growth of the country’s tech ecosystem.

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, signed the startup bill into law.

Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, disclosed this in a post via his official Twitter handle.

His Excellency, @MBuhari has just assented to Nigeria Start-up Bill. It has now become Nigeria Start-Up Act, 2022. It was an Executive Bill, initiated by both Office of the Chief of Staff & the Office of the Minister of Comms & Digital Economy. Congratulations to all!” the tweet reads.

The bill is a joint initiative by Nigeria’s tech startup ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of Nigeria’s digital economy through co-created regulations. The Bill will ensure that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are clear, planned, and work for the tech ecosystem. This will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for the growth, attraction, and protection of investment in tech startups.

The objectives of the bill are;

  • Provide a legal and institutional framework for the development of startups in Nigeria.
  • Provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development, and operation of startups in Nigeria
  • Position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem, as the leading digital technology hub in Africa, having excellent innovators with cutting-edge skills and exportable capacity.
  • Foster the development and growth of technology-related talent.

Highlights of Nigeria’s Startup Bill

Startup Labelling

The Startup Bill is designed for labeled startups which fulfill the following eligibility requirements;

  • It is registered as a limited liability company under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, and has been in existence for a period of not more than 10 years from the date of incorporation.
  • Its objectives are innovation, development, production, improvement, and commercialization of a digital technology innovative product or process
  • It is a holder or repository of a product or process of digital technology, or the owner or author of a registered software.
  • It has at least 51% of its shares held by one or more Nigerians.

Startup Investment Seed Fund

The Startup Investment Seed Fund is to be managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, and will be used to;

  • Provide a labeled startup with finance
  • Provide early-stage finance for recommended labeled startup
  • Provide relief to technology laboratories, accelerators, incubators, and hubs.

The initiative for the NSB was launched in May 2021, by the Presidency, in collaboration with 30 tech leaders, including Ventures Platform founder Kola Aina and Future Africa founder Iyin Aboyeji, officials of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the Minister of Digital Economy Isa Pantami.

With the Act, a Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be created, the council will be responsible for the formulation and provision of general policy guidelines for the realization of the objectives of the Bill and also give overall direction for the harmonisation of laws and regulations that affect a startup.

The bill seeks to create and develop an enabling environment for technology-enabled startups in the country.