Administrative Law

Highlights of The Startup Act

The president of Nigeria Mohammadu Buhari on the 20th of October, assented to the Start-up Bill. The notable provisions are;

  1. Establishment of the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Act established the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship known as ‘The Council” which is a body corporate with perpetual succession, common seal, can sue and be sued in its corporate name, and deal with all types properties in the manner it likes. Its key function is to formulate and provide general policy guidelines for the realization of the objectives of this act, this includes, fostering collaborations between startups and policymakers and ensuring the ecosystem works maximally.
  2. Provision for the Conditions for Startup Label: a startup is eligible for the startup label if it is registered as a limited liability company under the companies and allied matters act, for a period, not more than 10 years, if its objects are innovation, development, production, improvements, and commercialization of digital technology, innovative process or product, if it is a holder or repository of digital technology or owner of a registered software, has at least one Nigerian as a co-founder.
  3. Provision for Startup Investment Fund: This fund is managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. The fund shall be used to provide a labeled startup with finance, provide relief to technology laboratories, accelerators, incubators, and hubs.
  4. Tax and Fiscal Incentives: The Act provides that, a labeled startup, which falls within industries captured under the extant Pioneer Status Incentives(PSI) Scheme may apply to the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) for the grant of tax reliefs and incentives under the PSI Scheme. It also provides for other tax reliefs to be granted to labeled startups.
  5. Startup Support and Portal Engagement: this portal is established and maintained by the Secretariat and it shall serve as a platform through which a startup shall conduct the registration process with the relevant ministries, departments, and agencies. The portal shall amongst others, facilitate the issuance of permits or licenses to labeled startups, act as the middle man between the government and startups, create opportunities for startups to participate in beneficial programs, challenges, showcase accelerators, and incubation programs, etc. it will also serve as a medium of communication of announcement from time to time by the government. The portal shall also have a startup forum to provide information on the Nigerian startup ecosystem.
  6. Legal Framework and Regulatory support: The Act provides that, The Secretariat shall collaborate with the Corporate Affairs Commission (the Commission) to designate a separate section on the Startup Portal to ease the processes for labeled startups that conduct transactions at the Commission. In addition to the foregoing, the Secretariat shall further collaborate with the Commission and ensure that the processes and transactions carried out by startups at the Commission are seamless, expedited, and in accordance with the provisions of this Act
  7. Incubations Programs and Training of Talents: the secretariat is saddled with the responsibility to design and implement a training and capacity-building program for start-ups, in accordance with this Act, and shall utilize the startup portal to disseminate necessary information. the secretariat shall establish training centers in the geo-political zones and collaborate with relevant agencies and private sectors to establish technology innovations parks and hubs in higher institutions.