By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Nigerian Government has inaugurated a Technology and Creativity Advisory Council to drive the country’s intellectual investment as government seeks a future economy in Nigeria’s over 120 million young people.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo inaugurated the council this week in Abuja with membership drawn from both the public and private sectors including the increasingly assertive tech-startup ecosystem.
Private sector members include Daser David of Nhub Jos; Bankole Oloruntoba of Network of Incubators and Innovators in Nigeria (NINe); Mohammed Jega of StartUp Arewa; and Kola Aina of Ventures Platform.
Others are Funbi Falayi of Leadspace; Oloho Omame of Endeavor; Kola Oyeneyin of Venia Hub; Ismaila Sanusi of Colab Kaduna; and Adeyinka Adekeye of Founders Hub.
Public sector members of the council are drawn from government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) charged with technology, creativity, finance, export and investment.
According to Osinbajo, the council which is part of the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 is to add value to governments existing policies by coming up with an inclusive and all-embracing roadmap for promoting the technology and creative sector in order to create jobs, contribute to growth and improve the well-being of Nigerians.
Osinbajo further disclosed that the government has also recently taken action to include the creative industry among those that will benefit from pioneer status. Pioneer Status is a tax holiday granted to qualified (or eligible) industries in the country.
He also added the Bank of Industry (BoI) has already provided N1 billion Nolly-fund to support production in the creative sector., “Such gesture demonstrates the interface between the technology and creative sector, especially with regard to financing, infrastructure and policy,” said Osinbajo who recently led a tour of the startup ecosystem in Lagos in a guided government push to leverage the innovation hubs across the country for a ‘job and entrepreneurship’ scheme.
While the public sector only accounts for a mere fraction of eight per cent of the national income, the Nigeria’s technology and creativity sectors has impacted immensely to the country’s employment growth rate and boosted Nigeria’s global profile. Government now deems it fitting to create the needed environment that will further aid their growth and accelerate economic development in non-oil sectors.
The new council will harvest the practical knowledge of private sector members to engender right policies for the technology and creative ecosystems currently contending with Nigeria’s over taxation regimes and regulatory impediments, among other challenges.
“The group will assemble relevant ministers and heads of agencies, along with leading business people to boost public-private partnership, which is inevitable as the public sector account for only eight per cent of national income,” Osinbajo noted.
Members of the Advisory Group from the public sector include ministers of Communications Technology; Industry, Trade and Investment, Information and Culture; Science and Technology; governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission; Director General National Information Technology Development Agency. Others include the Director General, Nigeria Film Corporation; Managing Director, Bank of Industry; Director General, National Export Promotion Council and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council.