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What Nigerian Government Can Do to Help the Tech Ecosystem

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Nigeria is no doubt, a great country by all ramifications, based on the natural and human resources it is endowed with. Fact is, however, that it can achieve more greatness if it is serious about harnessing these natural and human resources to develop and enhance its tech ecosystem that can further enhance growth.

The roles that the Nigerian government could play to complement the selfless efforts of the other stakeholders in the tech ecosystem in order to make this happen are numerous.

I will, however, duel on only about four in this piece, that I feel are key, which are easy for the government to work on to help the situation.

One of the ways in which the Nigerian government can stimulate development of the tech ecosystem in Nigeria is to find a way of reducing the cost of tech gadgets and accessories necessary for the smooth operations in the ecosystem.

This is in the face of the high cost of these gadgets and accessories due to the high exchange rate of the Dollar to the Naira as most of these gadgets are not yet being manufactured here in Nigeria.

The truth is that these gadgets and accessories are way out of the reach of many young actors in the tech ecosystem as they are not financially capable. One of the ways that the government can help out here is in the area of the reduction of import duties for these tech gadgets and accessories or outright removal of import duties.

The government can also decide to subsidize the exchange rate of the Dollar and the Naira for the importation of the tech gadgets and accessories just like it did for those going on pilgrimages in the past, all in a bid to reduce the prices of the imported gadgets and accessories.

Another area where the government can quickly intervene to assist in the development of the tech ecosystem is in the rea of fast tracking the provision of the Broadband internet access in the ecosystem.

This is against the backdrop of the horrible, slow, breaking and annoying internet provision that we are currently witnessing in the ecosystem from some of the service providers.

The effects of these are the inability of the users of the internet to complete tasks on time, which can be frustrating and this also dovetails into high cost of their output.

Government should galvanize all its agencies that are working towards the achievement of the Broadband internet access such as the NCC, NITDA, etc., to work in synergy with the other stakeholders to speed up the realization of the Broadband internet access in the country to enhance the output in the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

Thirdly, one of the challenges facing the Startups in the tech ecosystem in Nigeria is the paucity of funds, especially, to enable them rent office premises and purchase all the needed equipment, furniture as well as services to help facilitate their activities.

To help in this regards, some Co-working spaces and Hubs are already available, especially in the Lagos and Abuja axis of the ecosystem where these Startups rents at affordable prices and share the facilities of such Hubs.

It is, however, still inadequate to serve the teaming youths that have joined the ecosystem. I was with Doyin Adewola, the Founder of one of the Co-working spaces in Abuja, Box Office, and he suggested that the government can help the tech ecosystem by turning many of the abandoned properties of the government as well as seized properties into Co-working spaces that these Startups can rent at affordable prices with shared facilities. I tend to agree with him and expect the government to look critically at that option to help the development in the tech ecosystem.

The fourth thing that the government can do to help the development of the tech ecosystem is to give the electricity Gencos and Discos that bought of the electricity assets of Nigeria the marching order to get their acts together and provide regular electricity to the populace, and by extension, the ecosystem.

They should be given a time frame with which to perform or exit the system forthwith, with the provision of prepaid meters to the users for fairness and equity.

No nation can grow any of its sectors effectively with the current epileptic supply of electricity because it breeds high cost of power through the use of expensive diesel to run generators as well as paying for electricity not used as the Discos will still bring an estimated electricity bill in spite of the fact that the electricity supply was epileptic.

I believe that, if the government can assist the tech ecosystem in these four areas, as a matter of urgency, there will be tremendous impact in the development of the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

CFA is the Founder, & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television