The Nigerian government has expressed its readiness to actively support the growth of the nation’s tech startup ecosystem with tax reliefs, intervention funds and innovation hubs in more cities in order to create three million tech jobs by 2018.
This is according to the country’s communications minister, Adebayo Shittu, and Afolabi Imoukhuede, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Job Creation and Youth Empowerment at the office of the Vice President.
The two officials made the announcement at a recent visit to the Yaba Technology Ecosystem in Lagos.
“ICT innovations are powering economies across the globe, creating employments and wealth. It is impacting on the way we live and the way we do businesses; the Buhari administration is at the forefront of diversifying our economy and he is resolved to develop the ICT sector through local content initiative. Government will support Yaba and all ICT hubs across the country because it is a veritable platform to achieve our ICT and job creations objective,” Shittu said.
“We are going to replicate what is happening here in Yaba in other parts of the country in partnership with stakeholders. We are going to start in Ibadan and Katsina state in the next three months. Both the governors of Oyo and Katsina have agreed to provide facilities for the establishment of these hubs.”
Shittu likened Nigeria’s model to those adopted by Singapore and India, which, he said, have special interventions that help to drive growth within ICT.
“We will be supportive of whatever initiative that you have. Through National Technology Development Agency (NITDA), we are going to introduce ICT Innovation fund to cater for early startups and ICT incubation scheme to support establishment of more high growth incubators across the country. We believe with these incentives, the sector will witness tremendous growth and generate employment and massive wealth for our people. We are also going to monitor the hubs across Nigeria in order to ensure standards and to mold them for global competitiveness. Our aim is to make Nigeria the ICT hub for Africa,” Shittu said.
Imokhuede told local entrepreneurs that the government is ready to support tech entrepreneurship through different ways and interventions.
He said: “We are working on the details. We have a million jobs to be created this year and we have a target to create three million jobs over the next three years. What is keen for me as the SSA on job creation is for us to be able to look at which sectors we can create jobs, and ICT, for us is a key area for job creations. You can create jobs within the sector, and you can use ICT as an enabler to also create a lot of jobs.”