By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The President of NiRA, Rev Sunday Afolayan has called on the government to encourage the growth of innovation by putting in place infrastructures and regulations that seek to sustain it.
He said this at a forum on digital economy recently in Lagos, according to him, innovation can only be sustained by the right policies that will help foster the ecosystem. He harped that as a result of lack of infrastrutures to foster the growth of the ecosystem, SMEs are looking at survival rather than looking holistically at how to develop their market.
“So much is happening that compels us to take a look at what we are doing in Nigeria. I’m sure we all recognise that Nigeria is a country with a population of over 180 million. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises (MSME) are about 37 million , out of this 37million, 24 million are into buying and selling adding zero value just trading. It will surprise you that from the figure less than 300, 000 are ICT related and you will begin to wonder why there is no progress,” he said.
“ Now, why it seems progress is not happening in this country is because we are always creating impediments against innovations, against straight thought, against trying to make things right. Today, PayPal runs one of the biggest financial solutions in the world, but try that in Nigeria, first thing CBN will ask you is where is your license,” he added.
He, however, said regulation is necessary, but innovation shouldn’t be yanked by regulations that will only kill innovation bearing in mind that development only comes about by innovation.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there should be no regulations, but there should be a nexus between regulation and innovation. And the way regulation should work is to ask what is innovation trying to do, how can these things be solved and that’s when regulation is supposed to kick in. You don’t start with regulation when there’s zero product. Regulation is supposed to birth solutions, otherwise innovation will die,” he said.