On Wednesday, the Nigerian Senate passed the Nigeria Startup Bill after 4 months of deliberation.
With the bill one step closer to a presidential assent, it means Nigeria’s tech ecosystem may see an improved enabling environment in the near future. While tech startups in Nigeria suffer from a lack of basic amenities like constant power supply and limited funding, there’s also a number of regulatory hurdles they face. Crypto startups, for example, have had to innovate since the Central Bank of Nigeria reinforced a ban on crypto trading in 2021. In 2020, state regulations also banned bike-hailing startups in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, and sent mobility startups like ORide, Max.ng, and Gokada running from the city.
One of the 3 objectives of the Nigeria Startup Bill is to bridge the engagement gap between startups and regulators and ensure that harmful regulations like these are shut down. While a draft of the bill is not available to the public yet, the summary of the bill is. Among other things, the bill also seeks to provide for the establishment, development, and operation of startups in the country via incentives like tax breaks, government loans, and credit guarantee schemes.
With the Nigerian Senate’s passing, the bill now moves onto the House of Representatives (HoR) where it will pass through 3 readings. If the HoR agrees with the contents of the bill, the bill will be sent to the president for his assent, and will thus become law.