By Nasir Dambatta
It is a platitude to say that every every sector of the human economy is now technology driven.
Technology in all its forms and levels – nano to hitech, has crept into and taken the firmer hold on every sector of the economy across the globe more than ever before in the current and emerging times.
This has led to the emergence of the best technology-driven economy becoming one of the major determinants of the strength and prosperity of all human entities from the subnational, national, continental to the global levels.
Technology, and creating vital roles for it in the economic policies and programmes of every entity, constitute the new reality, the new normal, which every tier of the human society must embrace in principle and practice, and with which it must be in tune, to enable it create and sustain a prosperous capacity in the ever-changing global economy.
Tersely stated, the adoption and application of relevant forms and levels of technology as a most-indispensable tool for the creation of a prosperous economy is the beginning of wisdom for every entity that is desirous of rapid economic growth and prosperity.
It is in the light of this reality that every stakeholder in the growth and prosperity of the economy of Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria and the entire country should, with every degree of goodwill and elation, congratulate Kaduna State, under the barely three months administration of Governor Uba Sani, for being the first to domesticate Nigeria Startup Act, among all the 12 states of the country that indicated interest to implement the Nigeria Startup Act.
Since Nigeria’s former President, Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Act in October 2022 to drive the growth of the country’s tech and startup ecosystem, only 12, constituting 32 percent of states in the country have indicated interest to domesticate the Act.
In a 2022 report by TechHive and Ikigai, the Nigeria Startup Act ranked best among the other four African startup legislations—Senegal, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Kenya—with relation to their scope, label and governance, incentives and enforcement.
However, analysts say that the implementation of the Act in the country has been slow since the presidential assent in October 2022.
According to Tracy Okoro, the State Adoption Lead at the Nigeria Startup Act secretariat, “I think that the whole country has been fully focused on the elections.”
Recent findings however showed that out of the 12 states that indicated interest, Kaduna State had gone ahead with actual domestication by the instrument of a Law to Make Provisions For The Development of Tech-Enabled Startups in Kaduna State and Other Related Matters, 2023.
The Kaduna State law has created three Startup Grants and Investment Fund, which is domiciled with the Kaduna Enterprise Development Agency.
Under the Law, the fund shall be managed by the Fund Manager to be appointed by the Council, subject to the approval of Governor Uba Sani.
Based on proposals submitted and approved by the Council in the preceding year, the Fund shall be seeded and replenished annually from the following funds to ensure its effective operation.
The Fund shall be applied towards providing listed Startups who meet the criteria set out by the Council on the recommendation of the Fund Manager in consultation with the Grant and Investment Board with funding to be used for the purposes, if any, set out by the Council.
Notwithstanding the purposes set out by the Council, the Fund shall provide early-stage finance for Startups to undertake product viability research to ascertain the technical feasibility, relevance and suitability for local and global market upon the criteria set by the Council.
The Fund may also provide relief to technology laboratories, accelerators, incubators and hubs who qualify for investment based on rules developed by the Secretariat and approved by Council.
A minimum of two hundred and fifty million naira (N250,000,000.00) would be appropriated annually by the State Government for the Startups Grant and Investment Fund for Startups as defined within this Law.
This amount would be reviewed every three years with a view to making inflation and other impacting adjustments.
Dambatta is Senior Special Assistant( Print Media) to the Governor of Kaduna State.