Earlier in March this year, there were announcements about the desire of The Nigerian Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to propose amendments to its regulatory Act. However recently, there have been underground talks about a draft bill focusing on the same issue. This has reignited conversations about the proposed amendments.
The following are to be considered in the amendment proposed:
- Categorization of new licenses
- Licensing fees
- 1%profit-before-tax levies for companies whose revenue is higher than N100,000,000
Some parts of the drafted bill include provision for offences, and penalties attached. For instance, Section 22 lists non-payment of levies as a punishable offence, with a 0.5% increase of the sum to be paid for each day that it is delayed for. Apart from fines, offenders will serve a jail term of 3 years for breaching this order.
Further, on failing to adhere to the agency’s directive, an individual will have to pay the sum of N3,000,000 ($7,315) as fine, while a corporate body will pay the sum of N30,000,000 ($73,149) as fine. Contrasting this new draft with the 2007 Act, Individuals were to pay N200,000 ($487), while corporate bodies were to pay N500,000 ($1,219).
The present amendment covers tech companies in all its forms – e-Commerce platforms, foreign digital services targeting the Nigerian market, Fintech.
According to Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, he said the amendments are necessary so that the agency can keep up with changes in technology, globally.
How key stakeholders in the Nigerian tech system see the new Act? They are on the negative side. Especially about fines and fees, they think it just government’s way of taking something from their hands. Notably, Nigerian startups have had a positive impact on the economy. Of the $1 billion raised by startups in Africa, the total amount raised by just Nigerian startups alone in the first half of 2021 equals $300 million; more than what was gotten from the first half of 2018 and 2019, combined.