The co-founder of Pora app and Azaria Lagos e-commerce app, Buki Osunkeye, has said that bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and stakeholders are key to the successful implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act and should be carried along.
Osunkeye made the call during the Nairametrics webinar with the theme: “Nigeria Startup Act and Tech Investment: Exploring Possibilities” held on Saturday. According to her, all the stakeholders that interact with the startup community must be fully involved and informed about the Act.
She noted that the members of ICAN, NBA, and others act as middlemen in setting up startups, hence, they would also need to be properly informed about the Act and its implementation.
Avoiding implementation obstacles
Emphasizing the need for information about the Act across the board, Osunkeye said many stakeholders need to be properly informed to avoid challenges in the process of implementing the Startup Act.
- “We don’t want a situation, as we do in Nigeria, whenever something gets implemented, then there’s a lot of whispers from different places and we don’t know exactly what is what. We’ve got so many stakeholders, but then in the implementation, we have to remember that as tech startups, we have a lot of other people who implement our work for us.
- “We shouldn’t forget the middlemen, who helped us to set up the companies, who helped us to establish our processes. These include the legal advisors and the tax advisers. So, I would encourage that we need to bring in the Nigerian Bar Association for example. ICAN, for example, everybody that is involved in any kind of company registration, or company building or working with the startups in ensuring that you’re compliant with government policies need to be involved,” she said.
Speaking on the aspect of the Act that deals with tax incentives for startups, Osunkeye said there will be a need for an understanding of the incentives and who can benefit from them. According to her, this is one of the key areas that a lot of startups are looking forward to because it addresses one of the biggest challenges that they face as they would want to grow their business to gain traction without the burden of tax.
She, however, noted that this is one area that requires the full understanding of other stakeholders that advise or work for the startups.
- “As I mentioned earlier, the people who are the middlemen need to be able to highlight and drill down into what the specifics of those funds and the specific tax incentives are for. While the document is online for everybody to read, a lot of them need people to give them the information and explain everything to them,” she said.