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Bolaji Abdullahi seeks inclusion of youth ministry in implementation of Startup Act

Bolaji Abdullahi seeks inclusion of youth ministry in implementation of Startup Act
November 03
13:37 2022

Bolaji Abdullahi, the former minister, has called for the inclusion of the ministry of youth development in the Startup Act.

On October 19, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB), now known as the Startup Act, into law. 

The bill seeks to create an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria.

It also seeks to harness the development and growth of technology-related talent and position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as Africa’s leading digital technology centre.

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Some of the law’s key provisions include the establishment of a national council for digital innovation and entrepreneurship, a startup investment seed fund, tax and fiscal incentives, and capacity-building programmes for startups.

Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Abdullahi said the exclusion of the youth ministry would leave gaps in coordination and mobilisation.

The Kwara Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate said an amendment to this effect is critical to the effective implementation of the new law.

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He said the act will open the country up to greater investments in the digital economy and unleash the potential of the youths for greater competitiveness in the African market.

“I commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent to the StartUp Act, I am delighted that the country has embraced such legislation at this crucial time when we are at a crossroad on how to boost national productivity,” the statement reads.

“This Act has the capacity to unlock the huge potentials for entrepreneurship and digital innovation in Nigeria.

“However, I consider the exclusion of the youth ministry from the council for digital innovation and entrepreneurship as provided for in the Act as an omission which if not immediately redressed can impair the full implementation of the law.

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“I believe this Act is a major step in the right direction, but we know that laws are not enough. What matters ultimately is what we are able to achieve with the law.

“From my experience as a minister, the law would be missing the convening power of the youth ministry, to coordinate, organise and mobilise Nigerian youths who are the frontline players in the digital innovation ecosystem.

“I recall the YOUWIN programme, under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which had a similar objective of promoting entrepreneurship among the youths. 

“Although, the programme was originally domiciled with the ministry of finance and the ministry of ICT, the ministry of youth development under my leadership was at the forefront of its implementation by assuming the responsibility of convening, coordinating, mobilising and organising youths across the country for the programme.

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“This new Act is a more institutionalised framework, but the objectives are the same. This is why I demand immediate amendment to the Act, to reflect the critical role of the youth ministry for the successful implementation of the StartUp Act.”

Abdullahi said part of his goals, if elected senator, is to work with key players in creating pathways for youths in Kwara central to take advantage of the StartUp Act.

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The former minister said he would work towards connecting them with the digital economy by facilitating opportunities for linkages, mentoring and skills development in ICT.

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