Technology Startups to Enjoy Tax Holiday – FG
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.”
Nigeria’s EFCC Arrests Olumide “D.O” Olusanya, Founder of Kloud Commerce
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken Dr. Olumide “D.O” Olusanya, the founder of Kloud Commerce, into custody, according to sources.
The EFCC officers reportedly detained Olusanya on Monday while he was in the middle of a meeting at the Lekki offices of Gloopro, one of the business ventures he led. Olusanya’s previous startup, Gloo.ng, was also shut down.
Investors have alleged malfeasance and deceptive practices by Olusanya, who they claim provided false updates on the growth of Kloud Commerce. At least 18 institutional and individual investors had provided capital to the now-shuttered startup.
Former executives and employees who worked with Olusanya at Kloud Commerce had described him as an abrasive founder who presented a positive picture to investors despite scarce progress while continuously demotivating the team he had assembled.
Kloud Commerce had raised USD 765 K in pre-seed funding in 2021 to develop a multi-channel commerce solution for African businesses, starting in Nigeria. However, the startup closed its doors a year later after a prolonged period of questionable management and disputes that left the company crippled for several months.
At the time of publishing this report, Olusanya remains detained, and further clarification on the matter is still pending.
The situation serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in the startup ecosystem, where trust and credibility are vital factors for attracting investors and customers.
Nigerian Government to Provide Free Broadband Internet Connection in Airports, Tertiary Institutions, And Markets
The federal government of Nigeria on Wednesday approved two memos presented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) seeking to provide free broadband internet connection in 20 selected airports, 43 tertiary institutions, and markets across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s minister of Communications and Digital economy Prof. Isa Pantami disclosed that the broadband infrastructure would ensure connectivity in airports for passengers, ease of e-learning in tertiary institutions, and ease of mobile transactions in markets as the economy is drifting towards a cashless one.
In his words,
“The Federal Executive Council has approved two memos for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) a parastatal under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. In these memos, certain intervention projects are going to be implemented by the NCC. Internet will be provided in 20 selected airports in Nigeria and higher institutions of learning as well as some markets to support micro, small, and medium enterprises.
“In each geopolitical zone, you have around three airports. In the southwest, we have Lagos and Ondo. For the South-East we have Anambra and Enugu. For the South-South, we have Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom. For the North-Central we have Abuja and Ilorin. In the North-West, we have Kano, Sokoto, and Kebbi. For the North-East, we have Yola, Maiduguri, and Gombe. The broadband project also extends to 43 higher institutions of learning at federal and state levels, including federal and state universities as well as polytechnics. So, this is one is the second phase of the project. And in the first memo approved today, we have 20 airports, both domestic and international.”
The contract which is worth N24.20 billion for the provision of free broadband internet is going to be implemented by the NCC, and the duration for the project execution would be four months minimum and a maximum of five months.
Investors King understands that the recent provision of free broadband internet connection to airports, tertiary institutions, and markets across the country, is in line with Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan 2020-2025. The Federal Government had through the National Broadband Plan set a target of 70 percent internet penetration and 90 percent population reach.
A World Bank study revealed that a ten percentage point increase in broadband penetration would increase GDP growth by 1.21 percent in developed economies and 1.38 percent in developing ones. Hence, once this project is executed in Nigeria, there is no disputing the fact that there will be a significant impact on the country’s GDP growth.
Musk And Dozens of Tech Leaders Call For The Pause of Giant AI Experiments
Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk and dozen of tech leaders have called for the pause of giant Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems with human competitive intelligence, which they say can pose profound risks to society and humanity.
With the rapid rate at which AI technology is advancing, these tech leaders suggest that the technology should be regulated and delivered only once there is confidence that its effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.
In an open letter from the future of life institute signed by Musk and a few tech leaders, they have called on AI labs to pause the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 for at least six (6) months.
The letter reads in part,
“Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones?
“Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete, and replace us? Should we risk the loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Therefore, we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. This pause should be public and verifiable and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium.
“AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts. These protocols should ensure that systems adhering to them are safe beyond a reasonable doubt”
These tech leaders, however, disclosed that the call for a pause on AI experiments is not in any way to hinder the development of the technology, rather it is a step taken backward from the dangerous race to AI tools with human competitive intelligence.
Also, AI ethicists are worried about biases and misinformation in the data that train AI models. Fears have also been raised about the possibility of jobs being lost to automation. On Tuesday, investment banking company Goldman Sachs warned that as many as 300 million jobs could be at risk of being wiped out by generative AI products.
It is interesting to know that with the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has seen so many companies integrate AI-powered chatbots into their products, the U.K. government has urged regulators to come up with rules for AI.
Investors King understands that on Wednesday, the U.K. government published recommendations for the artificial intelligence industry, outlining an all-encompassing approach for regulating the technology at a time when it has reached frenzied levels of hype.
AI has no doubt been helpful to users and has also transformed a lot of industries, however, owing to the fact that AI technology is advancing so rapidly, it is vital to regulate its use and creation which would minimize its destructive potential.
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