Nigerian government is willing to give tax holidays to encourage information communication and technology start-up companies establish businesses that will create about three million jobs in three years
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Feb 22, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |
WITH the untapped opportunities in the Information Communications and Technology, ICT, sector across the country, the federal government has promised that ICT companies will enjoy tax holidays and special intervention funds from the government. It noted that this is to enable them to meaningfully help government to realise the creation of three million jobs targeted by 2018.
Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, stated this when he visited Yaba Technology Ecosystem Hubs in Lagos. The minister expressed satisfaction at the infrastructures on the ground. “As you all know, the ICT innovations is powering economies across the globe, creating employments and wealth. It is impacting on the way we live and the way we do businesses.
“The President Buhari administration is at the forefront of diversifying our economy and he is resolved to develop the ICT sector through Local Content initiative. Government will support Yaba and all ICT hubs across the country because it is a veritable platform to achieve our ICT and job creations objective. We are going to replicate what is happening here in Yaba in other parts of the country in partnership with stakeholders. We are going to start in Ibadan and Katsina state in the next three months. Both the governors of Oyo and Katsina have agreed to provide facilities for the establishment of these hubs,” he said.
According to Shittu, countries like Singapore, India, have set up special interventions to support the high growth ICT industry. “So, we will be supportive of whatever initiative that you have. Through National Technology Development Agency, NITDA, we are going to introduce ICT Innovation fund to cater for early start-ups and ICT incubation scheme to support establishment of more high growth incubators across the country.
“We believe with these incentives, the sector will witness tremendous growth and generate employment and massive wealth for our people. We are also going to monitor the hubs across Nigeria in order to ensure standards and to mould them for global competitiveness. Our aim is to make Nigeria the ICT hub for Africa.”
He charged entrepreneurs in the sector to articulate some of the challenges they are facing and the sorts of intervention they want from government to sustain the existing hubs and more importantly government has always been the driving catalyst for funding start-ups. Shittu added that government is really going to help entrepreneurs in the sector especially start-ups by giving them tax incentives, in the form of tax holidays. “We are working on the details. We have a million jobs to be created this year and we have a target to create three million jobs over the next three years.”
John Obaro, managing director, SystemSpecs, owners of Treasury Single Account, TSA, and Remita, had on Monday, February 8, during the minister’s working visit to the company appealed to the federal government to grant pioneer status to indigenous software industry in order to encourage more companies like Remita. He noted that this would encourage existing and new players to ensure that the dream of the country to become a global player in the software industry comes true.
“In view of the fact that oil is drying up and that software provides a strong alternative for our national development, you please help lead the push for government to immediately grant the indigenous software industry pioneer status. It is time for our government to recognise and designate our local software industry as a catalyst for national economic prosperity and make conscious efforts to entrust it with the responsibility of undertaking major national assignments that encourage its growth and global competitiveness.”