As Nigeria adjusts to the economic fallout of COVID-19, experts in the tech-ecosystem have urged the government to maintain a consistent policy in the sector to sustain the various job creation initiatives gained across the nation. This, according to them, would continue to increase the risk aversion of the growing sector, operators, investors and the intellectual prowess of the technological competence of the young demographic in the country.
In an exclusive interview with THISDAY, the founder, Simply Exponential Consult Limited, Mrs. Fayo Williams, decried that the various incessant policy instability in the sector if not contained would undermine the job creation efforts across the country within the tech space and its resultant multiplier’s effect on the overall economy. She stated that job creation in the sector remains one of the fastest ways an economy can empower its citizens to alleviate poverty and improve means of livelihood.
According to her, “We believe we are having a big challenge right now because Nigeria has not provided the enabling environment for the technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem to thrive. We wake up to different kinds of rule and policy and contradictions in positions of various fines and so on and so forth. The main issue is that, without a conducive existence for these technology ecosystems, job creation and employability will suffer and we cannot keep going this way.
Meanwhile, fDi Intelligence report, a specialist division of the Financial Times, has revealed that Nigeria has the highest number of tech startups, as most of them operate within the fintech industry. The report noted that despite the Lagos metropolis being renowned for its start-up ecosystem; it still suffers from chronically poor infrastructure and education, recurring political instability, and security issues.
“More so, inflation, unemployment, ease of doing business to socio-economic factors such as banditry, kidnapping, and insurgency, remains deciding factors in the mind of foreign investors towards the economy, “it added. With ISN being an interface innovation hub with the private and public sector, the Executive Secretary, Innovation Support Network (ISN), Mrs. Nneka Ukay explained that they are there for any investors on how to stay within the ambit of the law.
She, however, revealed that in the last 18 months foreign investors are not really being convinced to invest in Nigerian stocks because there have been precedents of policy somersaults without any consultations or pre-warning. “What happens is that a regulation or a directive is passed and then it halts activities immediately and then we now start working backwards to see how we can change the business models, accommodate this new change from the government.
She added that a lot of this technology is strange to the government and would continue because the young ones are adopting as they go and “so the government must not come down so heavily on us because they do not understand what we are doing.”