The Chairman, Zinox Group, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh has appealed to the Federal Government to grant exceptional tax concessions to the technology sector in the country. This, according to Ekeh, will encourage the upcoming youths in creating a new digital economy for the country.
Currently, the Federal Government is seriously driving at economic diversification in the areas of agriculture as well as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an alternative to oil whose price continues to fluctuate in the international market.
According to the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA, ICT currently contributes 12.6 percent to the GDP while India currently depends on ICT as $143 billion annually comes from ICT.
Experts, however, argued that the revenue from the ICT sector could be huge enough to grow the country’s GDP and provide succour to the ailing economy if there are right policies to protect ICT investments in the country. They suggested protections such as
- Decent tax-free period of at least ten years.
- Access to small loans to drive their businesses.
According to Femi Adewole, an application designer, If the Federal Government can invest 20 percent of what she has invested in the agricultural sector in the tech sector, over 75 percent of present unemployed youths would become employed or self-employed in a profession that has a future.It would be recalled that several startups have closed down operation in recent times in the country.
He further assured that if the Government can grant the necessary incentives to the sector, the country will experience, within the next five years, an army of tech billionaires whose one-year tax payments shall significantly be more than our present ten-year collections.
The challenges facing entrepreneurs in the ICT sector is enormous ranging from multiple taxation, poor infrastructure, and access to finance these have hampered the growth in the sector largely dominated by young entrepreneurs.
According to an Angel Investor, Mr. Collins Onyeulo there is a need for the government to invest in technology startups and make funds available for them to boost technology innovation and creativity.
He also added that one major drawback about investing in startups is that 7 out of every 10 startups sponsored by Angel Investors or any other investor, may end up not being successful. He suggested that tax exemption should not only be limited to startups, but also to investors until they recoup investment on failed startups.
“If such palliatives are offered by the government for investors who invest in technology startups, it will encourage them to invest the more and create opportunities for growth in the ICT sector.”
- Collin Onyeluo