Information Communications and Technology (ICT) industry across the country are to enjoy tax holidays and special intervention funds from the federal government.
This is to enable them to meaningfully help government to realize the creation of three million jobs targeted by 2018.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, and Afolabi Imoukhuede, Senior Special Adviser, SSA to the President on Job Creation/Youth Empowerment office of the Vice President, gave this hint when the Minister visited Yaba Technology Ecosystem Hubs in Lagos.
The minister expressed satisfaction at the infrastructures on the ground and said: “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 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.”
The minister further noted that 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 startups 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 mold 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 startups. Imokhuede, added that government is really going to help entrepreneurs in the sector especially startups 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-2016-19. What is keen for me as the SSA on job creation is for us to be able to look at which sectors we can create jobs, and ICT, for us is a key area for job creations.
For two reasons- you can create jobs within the sector, and you can use ICT as an enabler to also create a lot of jobs. And that is why we are focusing on ICT and digital world for jobs creation; it is therefore important that we visit places like Co-Creation, where you have an organic growth.”