Rep says policy somersaults bane to entrepreneurship in Nigeria –

Rep says policy somersaults bane to entrepreneurship in Nigeria – The Sun Nigeria

From  Joe Effiong, Uyo

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Hon Onofiok Luke, has fingered policy somersaults and lack of support as the bane to business start-ups in Nigeria.

To correct the anomaly, Luke has advocated the institution of sustainable investment friendly policies as well as other incentives to encourage the youth venture in establishment of small-scale enterprises especially in the area of ICT considered as the engine room of the present and future global economy.

In a keynote address titled “The Role of Policy in National Development: Start-Ups as A Case Study” at the first anniversary of Future Labs, an ICT hub at Ikot Ekpene on Tuesday, Luke said: ‘As a nation, we ought to do better and should do better, in developing a consciousness of the potentials available to us through the skills which our young people possess, and becoming deliberate and intentional in maximizing this invaluable resource as we look to oust youth unemployment.

‘Our policies and laws should be inspired by the need to foster and support innovation in business and not to cripple enterprise.

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‘We are aware of a bill which has the spirit of expanding the powers of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in ways which many participants in the tech space have kicked against. The bill proposes regulation for companies so that those with profit of up to one million naira have a levy of 1% to remit, failure to comply with which would attract jail term or fine to the tune of about 30 million naira.

‘Nigerian startups and young founders and entrepreneurs do not have to suffer with laws like this hanging like albatrosses around their necks.’

Looking beyond the present era, the lawmaker, who represents Etinan federal constituency of Akwa Ibom state, said: ‘In the Future we hope to create through Gods amazing grace, our goal is to make Akwa Ibom the hub of technology in our country.

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‘I am present at this event today because of my belief in the power of technology and as a state, we will be ready to tap into this power. Akwa Ibom state is fast becoming a gem. With the 21-story smart building which reflects the powerful foresight of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, the proposed Ibom Science Park, our seaport, and the foundation of the E-library project, we will experience a massive boom as a people with an attendant increase in population and migration of the big industry players.

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‘Akwa Ibom will become home to several Internet Services Providers as well as other technical service providers. With this envisaged growth, it is only right that we prepare for this boost by making Akwa Ibom a ‘Smart State’. As part of our plans for the future, we intend to partner with the private sector to lay fiber optic cables for high performance data and high-speed internet access.’

He lamented the existence of a big digital divide between urban and suburban areas with high incomes as well as the rural and urban areas with low incomes, naming such digital divide to include a connectivity gap, where rural users experience lower speed internet connections than more urban users.

Setting a target, Luke said his goal is to bridge the divide by ensuring increased broadband infrastructure in underserved and unserved areas, while also partnering with startup tech hubs like Future Labs to improve digital literacy among residents of such areas in a bid to address basic to intermediate skills for both hardware and software.

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‘This digital literacy will help us in the maintenance and long-term sustenance of our proposed infrastructure,’ he stressed.

The CEO of Future Labs, Manasseh Victor, said he had to return from Lagos to establish the centre in order to horn the young talents abound in the state and prepare them for the digital age of the moment and the future.

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