Incentives For Start-Ups In ICT Underway, FG Assures Investors | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Incentives For Start-Ups In ICT Underway, FG Assures Investors

Posted: Feb 27, 2016 at 6:34 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Olamide Bakare, Lagos

The three million jobs promised by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2018 may soon begin to materialise if efforts made by Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Ministry is anything to go by.
This is because the ICT Ministry has indicated readiness to introduce incentive packages for start-up companies which would contribute in realising the ultimate goal. Some of the incentives, according to Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication, range from tax holidays, ICT Innovation fund to ICT Incubation Scheme.
He made this known during his recent visit to Co-Creation ICT Hub in Yaba, Lagos.
Speaking after accessing the facilities, the minister expressed satisfaction at the infrastructure on the ground. “We want to replicate what is happening here in other parts of the country in partnership with key stakeholders. We are going to start in Ibadan and Katsina State in the next three months as the governors have agreed to provide facilities for the establishment of hubs in their areas.
He disclosed the present administration’s plan to focus on the ICT sector to drive an encompassing economic growth.
He said: “As you all know, the ICT innovation is 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, Government is resolved to develop the ICT sector through Local Content initiative.  Government will continually support all ICT hubs across the country because it is a veritable platform to achieve our ICT objectives.”
The minister further noted that countries like Singapore and India, have set up special interventions to support the high growth ICT industry.
He added: “So, we will be supportive of whatever initiative that you have. Through NIITDA Agency, we are going to introduce ICT Innovation Fund to cater for early start-ups 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 generating 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.”
He charged entrepreneurs in the sector to articulate some of the challenges they are facing and the sort of intervention they want from government to sustain the existing hubs and more importantly, to recognise that government will always be the driving catalyst for funding start-ups.
While re-echoing the position of the minister, Afolabi Imoukhuede,  Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation/Youth Employment, added that the government would consider tax holidays and rebates for qualifying start-ups so that they can employ more people and grow the entrepreneurial sector of the economy.
“We are working on the details to ensure that we get it right. 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-2016-19. 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.
“For two reasons, you can create jobs within the sector, and you can use ICT as an enabler to also create a lot of jobs. That is why we are focusing on ICT and the digital world for job creation; it is therefore important that we visit places like Co-Creation, where organic growth can be achieved,” he stated.
Bosun Tijani, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Creation Hub, in his presentation on ‘The Yaba Technology Ecosystem –How we got here and where we‘d like to go,’ noted that there is no nation on earth today that can prosper without using technology.
Tijani said beyond the incentives, government should patronise the companies in the sector by giving them business.
“For instance, in the last election, we built a website that was used to encourage people on how to vote and when to vote. We also built another site for ID cards registration. it was so good that INEC adopted it. Somebody paid for that work; that is the kind of collaborations we want. Sixty per cent of what we do here is building other peoples’ businesses by using our creativity and knowhow to make society better,” he said.