From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a bill known as Nigeria Start-Up Bill, for onward transmission to the National Assembly for passage into law.
Minister of Communications and Digital economy, Isa Pantami disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He explained that the bill is to encourage young entrepreneurs in the country that have skills and want to do business in the telecommunications sector.
He said: “The first one is on the Nigeria Startup Bill, which is exciting news to our innovators all over the country, particularly those who are working within the tech industry. The Federal Executive Council has approved the Nigeria Startup Bill and has also directed my humble self, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, and also the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to ensure that we immediately liaise and transmit same to the National Assembly to begin the legislative process of converting it into a law.
“By this, the Nigeria Startup Bill has replaced our National Digital Innovation Entrepreneurship and Startup Policy. This bill has 11 chapters and all of them have been crafted in order to provide the enabling environment for our startups to be very successful. Firstly, the bill will establish the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“This council is going to be chaired by Mr. President himself and part of the council he will be supported also by the Vice President and I will also support both of them and many relevant ministers and government parastatals are part of the council.
“Furthermore, there is also the operational structure of the council in which all the relevant institutions but have a role to play in providing the enabling environment for our startups to thrive, part and parcel of this operational structure.
“The bill also addresses startup leveling process, where a startup is going to be labeled. And after that, there is eligibility for grant. If a startup is looking for a government grant, there is a process to follow, which is very easy, and at the end, government will be able to provide the grant and also there is a process of issuance, this certificate of leveling for the start up.
“The bill also will establish the startup investment Seed Fund, where there is going to be a dedicated fund to be provided by the federal government for our young innovators all over the country to apply for the startup investment Seed Fund in order to begin their own process if they need that.”
The Communications Minister also disclosed that the council gave approval for the procurement of four lift passenger lifts by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“The second one is for the procurement of for Passenger Lifts by the Nigerian Communications Commission, for the headquarters office here in Maitama, Abuja.
“The federal executive council has approved the replacement of the four passenger lives in the headquarters office looking at the dilapidated situation of them in order to make the environment more conducive for staff to work effectively,” he said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina revealed that N1.6 billion was approved for the construction of two bridges in Kano State.
“I will quickly brief us on two of the approvals granted to the Minister of Works and Housing. The First one is for a contract for the construction of two bridges in Nata’ala and Saburrawa, Kano South Senatorial District of Kano State, for the sum of N1,690,323,723.58 for the two bridges in Kano,” he said.
Another bridge in Jimeta, Adamawa State, was also approved for the sum of N2,573,716,116. It was emphasised that bridges generally across the country will be assessed and attended to. If there’s any bridge that needs attention.
The Minister of Finance, Budget And National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said, the council approved two joint memos regarding the Presidential Power Initiative. She explained: “The first memo that we presented to council was seeking Council’s approval for the engagement of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) as transaction advisors with third party consultants for the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (phase one).
“So, the AFC, the transaction advisors, their fee is $800,000 US dollars and the transaction period is 18 months and this includes their reimbursable expenses.
“The second component is the engagement of third party consultants and this includes local as well as international legal advisory firms, environmental and social impact assessment consultants, security consultants, insurance advisors, as well as tax and model auditor.
“These parties are collectively engaged in the sum of $1,116,312.45 US dollars. The objective of the PPI project is to modernize and upgrade power transmission and distribution infrastructure in Nigeria.
“The second approval that we got from Council today is still relating to the PPI power project and the memo was seeking the approval of Council for the award of contracts for the procurement of mobile equipment for the transmission power component of the project. So, 10 mobile equipment and 10 transformers in favour of Siemens AG.
“The total cost of the of the procurement is in the sum of 62,949,447 euros with a delivery period of 12 to 18 months, dependent on how we’re able to push because this equipment will be manufactured specifically for us. The focus is to be able to very quickly enhance the power availability and capacity in the country.
“With this particular approval, we’ll be able to expand from the current capacity of 5000 megawatts to 7000 megawatts.”