Kwara Govt initiates plan to move 100,000 young tech-preneurs from informal to formal sector
By Olabode Ahmed
One hundred thousand young tech-preneurs would be moved from the informal sector to the formal sector by the Kwara State government.
This is being done to expose the tech entrepreneurs to more benefits that can improve their trade and thereby creating jobs for at least another 500,000 youths in the state.
To achieve this goal, the state government and the federal government through the National Startup Act (NSA) secretariat, have organised a stakeholders’ forum on adoption and domestication of the NSA in Ilorin, the state capital.
They maintained that the new law on digital economy is where prosperity lies for the country and sub-nationals.
According to the organizers of the event, the law when it fully comes on stream, will benefit young startups and tech savvy youth population that make up over 60 per cent of the country’s demography.
Explaining the benefit when the law comes fully on stream, the managing director of Ilorin Innovation Hub, Timi Kolawole, said no less than 100,000 young tech enabled entrepreneurs would be captured in the programme with multiplier impact on over 500,000 if at least each of them employ only five persons.
Within Ilorin Alone, there will be nothing less than 100, 000 self-employed youths in Ilorin. Imagine if each employ five workers. These are already start-up founders.
“The purpose of what we are doing here is to move people from the informal sector to the formal sector.
So many of the targeted people are already doing things that they know how to do, but informally. People are selling things online, people are having skills to work for people all over the world.But what we have is not structured yet. The people and the talents are there, we just need to create a frame work.
So it is not going to take too much to bring them on board. The regular business landscape is structured but we will now want to bring in innovation and technology for all businesses to use in their activities so it will involve lots of capacity building and training.
“Even if you are head dresser or a mechanic, anybody can actually use technology innovations to upgrade themselves from the informal sector and become very successful,” Kolawole added.
NSA Secretariat’s State Adoption Lead, Mrs Tracy Okoro, said the programme was an engagement activity meant to help Kwara State to adopt the Kwara State Start-up Act.
She noted that: “Kwara has a modest record of implementing and domesticating business development laws especially under the current administration.
“Last year, the federal government signed the bill into law. It was created by the presidency to create an enabling environment for tech enabled companies to thrive, and also because tech solutions will give us the necessary prosperity we need as a nation.
“Entrepreneurs are the ones who will be solving the world’s hardest problems and we want Nigeria to be in the fore front,” she said.
Executive chairman of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, Mrs Shade Omoniyi, told newsmen at the event that Kwara State would not be starting domestication from the scratch because there are already structures in place.
She further used the opportunity to clear grey areas on tax related matters as it affect new business.
“There is an existing ease of doing business council set up by the state governor, Mall. Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, and has the head of service of service as the chairman of the body.
“Executive Chairman of the KWIRS is a standing member, so basically what government has done is that every sector has representative; all facets of business are represented in the council.
So the tax person is also there; that shows the synergy between how business can be done in an easy manner and what taxes you should be pay.
She further added that with the startup law, a new council is in the pipeline to cater for matters where tax matters might be challenge.
“We are going to come up with a council that will look into all of these issues.
“Taxation is law there is nothing in KWIRS that allows us to collect taxes that are not meant to be collected.
“So any tax we collect are governed by a particular law. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that tax payers, startups cannot take up their issues with the appropriate authorities especially when it comes to benefits or tax incentives.
“One of the things we expect from that council is coming up with what works for startups as far as taxation is concerned. It is not just what we can advocate on here and finish.
“We have to consider the benefit to the tax payers. We also have to consider the benefit to the state government.
“At the end of the day, government still has to provide the enabling environment,” she said.
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