The Director General, National Information and Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has signed into law five regulatory instruments aimed at improving the Information Technology industry.
The newly added regulations are listed as guidelines for Nigerian content development in ICT, Nigeria e-Government interoperability framework, Nigeria ICT innovation and entrepreneurship vision, Nigeria cloud computing policy and the framework for ICT adoption in tertiary institutions.
However, the regulation that concerns Nigerian startups and SMEs is the Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV). The agency published a manual with fourteen different visions for the growth of the technology ecosystem and three directly impacts Nigerian startups and SMEs.
According to the manual, the federal government will develop inclusive public procurement policies for startups in Vision 10 of the NIIEV regulation.
This allows the government to finance private contracts directly through the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and will be done through the electronic procurement scheme (e-PP) of the BPP. Start-ups can now take advantage of this and register as contractors.
Vision 12 of the regulation on the other hand will encourage startup growth by easing the local environment and making it easier for indigenous innovators to access opportunities. The government intends to enforce this by simplifying processes to access subsidized loan services for start-ups and SMEs.
Surprisingly, by saying in Vision 14 that venture capital (VC) and angel investment funds will be encouraged to invest in startups through streamlined tax incentives, the government has assigned room for private investments in the regulation. This implies more bold VC financing for startups.
In the past, the agency has publicly stated that it will strongly pursue the application of regulations and properly punish violators, as is the case of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation. This has lead many wondering if this enthusiasm will be transferred to the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision Regulation.