By Bashir Ibrahim Dabo
Among Nigeria’s 36 states, the World Bank ranks Kaduna State as the 15th most difficult state for Starting a Business, 32nd in Dealing with Construction Workers, 24th in Registering a Property and a consoling 2nd in Enforcing Contracts, the picture this paints is discouraging for potential investors. Luckily, the Kaduna State Government currently has a reform-minded Governor.
In his first 10 months in office, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has shown a commitment to reforming the state and leading it into the global economy. Most recent of these reform efforts is the Kaduna Investment and Economic Summit (#KADInvest2016) which will be the first investment summit to take place in Northern Nigeria .
Slated for the 6th and 7th of April, 2016, the summit will be well attended by global leaders, leading entrepreneurs and heavyweight investors. Nothing quite demonstrates the aim of the KADInvest2016 better than its theme, ‘Let’s move Kaduna into the global economy‘. It simply says we have been rebranded. Kaduna is now open for business!
The ferruginous soil in Birnin-Gwari is blessed with huge gold deposits, probably larger than that of South Africa. Kyanite, Graphite, Rutile – key raw materials used in ceramic and pencil industries; Tantalite used majorly by oil and gas exploration companies and close to 20 other minerals are all laying abundantly untapped across the state in commercial quantities, all open for lucky investors.
In agriculture, Kaduna is the largest producer of maize, ginger and soya-beans. Huge investment opportunities lie not only in farming but in the agricultural value-chain of processing and exports.
To attract potential investors, the Governor has made concerted efforts to eliminate the cumbersomeness that linked Kaduna as one of the worst place to the do business in Nigeria. New tax and lands legislations have been introduced to make the environment more friendly and receptive.
The new Tax Codification legislation, signed into law in February 2016, consolidates all tax laws enacted from 1917 to date into one document. It eliminates cash collection of revenues and centralizes a cashless payment system using POS machines or direct payment to partner banks under the power of one agency – The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service (KADRIS).
Bureaucratic bottlenecks and systemic inefficiency that resulted in Kaduna being 32nd and 24th in ‘Dealing with Construction Workers’ and ‘Registering a Property’ , has been solved with the signing of Kaduna Geographic and Information Service (KADGIS) law in December 2015. With the establishment of KADGIS, land register and administration is being digitized. This brings ease and efficiency of land acquisition for investors ready to set up factories and other business premises.
These efforts have already begun to yield fruit; OLAM – one of the world’s biggest agricultural companies, has committed some 200 million USD to building Africa’s largest poultry farm in Kaduna. When operations begin, the farm will have the capacity to produce 1 million chicks a day. Stallion Group has also committed some 100 million USD investment to rice farming and milling in Kaduna State.
Also, Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the summit with Dangote Group on setting up a tomato paste factory; and with Indorama, one of Africa’s largest fertilizer companies, on building an organic fertilizer plant in Kaduna – big enough to serve the needs of the entire country. All these are testament to the fact that these new legislations are investor-friendly and Kaduna is indeed open for business.
The above revelations are not fairytales, but a depiction of the modest realities of the state under Malam el-Rufai. I enjoin all to come to #KADInvest2016 and leverage on these opportunities – join Kaduna as it makes its headway into the greater global economy.
Don’t miss it, it’s going to be huge!
Please visit kadinvest.org for more information on the summit.
Bashir Dabo is the Special Assistant to Governor of Kaduna State on New Media.
He tweets @Bashir_Dabo