Startup bill drafters respond to criticism that it may not solve many problems

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Concerns were raised about clauses in the NSB in a Technext article. NSB says that the bill is “not a silver bullet,” and that it’s a “Nigeria-first legislation.”
The Nigerian Startup Bill

After Technext published an article a week ago highlighting some flaws in the Nigerian Startup Bill, a spokesperson for the team working on the bill reached out with a press statement offering the thinking of the drafters of the NSB.

Addressing the premise of Technext’s argument in the article “The Nigerian Startup Bill may not solve most startup problems as we think,” the press statement says that “no bill is a silver bullet that solves all the problems it sets out to address. The idea is that a passable version is introduced and amended as time passes to cover for loopholes and unforeseen scenarios.”

On the section of the bill that states that startups should have their headquarters in the country, the statement says that the “section focuses on Nigerian ownership and involvement in labelled startups benefitting from the incentives and regulatory support they receive under the act. It doesn’t alienate startups registered outside Nigeria nor does it prohibit them from operating within the country. However, it encourages more startups to domicile here and increases our tax base.”

Speaking about the 51% shares that should be held by Nigerians in the eligible startups, the statement says that “We must understand that this is Nigeria-first legislation. Ecosystem actors and the Government have come together to bet on the burgeoning sector and this includes laying out frameworks that place young Nigerians at the forefront while creating a thriving environment for them to build and scale.”

The statement also addresses employees of startups having tax breaks saying that “In our estimation, the employee tax break encourages more Nigerians out of tertiary institutions to develop skills required to function in demanding environments, elevating the overall quality of the job landscape while encouraging startups to hire more Nigerians rather than acquire talent elsewhere.”

Addressing an excerpt from QZ that states that the bill will provide “long-awaited respite for Nigeria’s startups that have found themselves navigating sudden, aggressive regulations” to which Technext writes that “NSB will not protect tech companies from governmental oversight,” the statement says that “It is a flawed premise.

Nigeria is not an anarchist society and is subject to laws and processes. Regulations at the local, state and federal levels influence all businesses, and Government oversight is integral to our daily lives as it creates standards while ensuring citizens’ interests are paramount. Consequently, the relationship between business entities  and the government can be either collaborative or adversarial.


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