Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Tuesday, 22nd February 2022 met with indigenous innovators in Lagos, to explore avenues of developing the Ecosystem to further drive the digital economy agenda.
The interactive session organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was themed; Fostering an Enabling Environment for Start-up Growth.
Addressing an impressive turnout of techprenuers, startups, innovators, and founders, Professor Pantami disclosed that the objective of the session is to understand first hand, what the ecosystem requires from the government in order to thrive.
“The importance of a vibrant, functional innovation ecosystem cannot be underscored and that is why we have taken deliberate steps to organise this interactive session specifically, to address certain pertinent issues.
“First, how to consolidate our ecosystem, secondly to understand the market and its challenges thirdly, to map our market and set targets, to strengthen our networking strategies and more importantly, collaborating and partnering with government. This is key to the success of our ecosystem because government has a major role to play in providing an enabling environment”. The Minister emphasised that the Federal Government is open and willing to suggestions on what it can do to further ensure the success of the ecosystem.
Speaking further, Pantami challenged startups and innovators in the Nigeria ecosystem to take ownership of existing policies to further consolidate and enhance the success of the ecosystem.
“If there are challenges in implementing any of the policies we have put in place for the sector to thrive, please let us know”.
He cited the Nigeria Startup Bill, the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the National Policy for the Development of Indigenous Content in the Telecommunications Sector among others, as examples of government’s commitment to enact and implement policies that enable the ecosystem.
Pantami disclosed that incentives like grants, tax and fiscal incentives, startup labelling, seed funding for startups, tax holidays have been provided for, in the plan to provide the necessary support by government.
He noted that Nigeria as the largest digital economy in Africa which is in the process of deploying fifth generation networks (5G), the immense human potential and the necessary collaborations and partnerships between government and the ecosystem, the country will in no time take its pride of place as the continent’s technology giant.
The Minister thereafter, lead a high powered delegation on a working visit to some of the innovation hubs including Flutterwave, Treepz and Reliance Health.