The Nigeria Federal government has set up N10 billion investment fund for young innovators, while making provision for incentives and tax holidays to encourage local innovators.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Nigeria Startups Bills on Wednesday.
He said in recognition of the efforts of the Nigerian government in the Information Communication Technology (ICT), Microsoft has decided to train about five million Nigerians on high demands skills geared towards job creation. This was fallout of recent investment meeting between the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, led by Pantami, and Microsoft.
He said the ICT contributed 18.42% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year alone, while the entire contribution of Communication and Digital Economy was 40%.
He explained that the new Act was an Executive Bill initiated by President Buhari through the collaboration of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy and the Office of the Chief of Staff to the president.
According to him, before the passage of the bill, young innovators from the six geo-political zones of the country were engaged, and the Act provides the legal and strategic framework for the innovators to make their contributions to the country.
He said that out of the seven unicorns in Africa, five are from Nigeria, adding that a market value of each unicorn worths $1billion. A unicorn, he explained, is a privately held startup company valued at over US$1 billion.
The Minister said there will be a Presidential Council on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship to be chaired by the President, while the Vice President will serve as the vice chairman. The Council will have membership from the government and private sectors as well as representatives from the academia.
The Council under the chairmanship of the President would help to curb the incessant harassment of the youths with laptops computers by the security agencies who are always tagged as ‘yahoo-yahoo boys,’ Pantami said.
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