Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 7 April 2016 | 2,889 times
Kaduna State on Wednesday began its two-day 2016 Economic and Investment Summit, with Governor Nasir El-Rufai identifying reasons why investors within and outside the country should invest in the state.
This was just as the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, disclosed that his company will be investing $10 million in tomatoproduction in the state.
Declaring the Summit open at Musa Yar’Adua Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna, the Governor reiterated the commitment of his administration to take the state to an enviable height in terms of investment and economic-driven, geared towards taking the state to global economy.
He said: “According to a survey conducted, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area in the state has more gold than South Africa, saying the state can generate about N40 billion from solid minerals.
“We have a competent, committed and efficient civil service in the country. Our workers are self driven and result oriented due to their training and retraining. With the type of workers the state is blessed with, no investor will regret investing in any form of genuine business in the state.
“Kaduna has more tertiary institutions in Nigeria, meaning an avenue for anyone who wants to invest in that line. We also need two or three additional universities though one of them is already in the paper.
“Kaduna has largest military formation; this guarantee maximum security of people here. We also have abundant raw materials in every part of the state and we are one of the largest producers of millet and shogun which can be transformed into several food packages.
“Above all, we have the market in Kaduna based on our population. We have about 10 million people living in Kaduna today. That is a huge population for business individuals and organisations.”
El-Rufai added: “The goal of organising the summit is to create a platform for discourse with a view to achieve inclusive economic growth and socio-economic transformation of the state that will translate into substantial improvements in the quality of citizens lives, through higher productivity and competitiveness.
“In its breadth and scope, the plan leaves no one behind, children; young adults and the elderly have the state as an ally for the pressing needs of their status. This is not utopia, but a deliberate, incremental improvement to enhance the life chances of our people.
“Even though eight out of the 23 local government of the state are not economically viable in terms of revenue generation, we are targeting N1.3 trillion in public and private investment.”
El-Rufai however assured that the government is committed to tackle the daunting development challenges that are facing the state adding that Kaduna as a capital city, remains northern Nigeria’s second largest commercial city.
While pointing out that Kaduna is divided along religious, regional and ethnic lines due to religious and ethnic intolerance, the Governor noted that poor infrastructure, insecurity and unconvincing policies have deterred investments. He emphasised that agriculture remains mired in low productivity and in need of significant interventions.
Meanwhile, Dangote, who spoke through a representative, said apart from contributing to economic fortunes of the state, the company, if begin production, will also improve standard of living of tomatoes farmers as well as creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Kaduna populace.
The Governor of Bauchi State, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, commended El-Rufai for kick-starting a process every government in Nigeria must key into. “It is the mark of common knowledge the dwindling prices of oil in the international market and that is why we must diversify and the states must be the leading light because they are the sectors of the population,” he said.
Governor Abubakar assured that his state will follow suit and convene an economic and investment summit with a view to addressing the challenges facing the state and the country at large.
On his part, Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, encouraged the industrial world to limit the subsidies on commodities with a view to easing the hardship of the common man.
He further called on the government to empower identified farmers to boast the agricultural base of the country which he said is the panacea to youth unemployment.
•Photo shows Governor El-Rufai.
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