#KadInvest2016: A Reality Written? — Ahmed Rufai Isah
Few years ago, the current governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai wrote series of paradigm shifting ideas on how to develop Northern States. I followed the series religiously and kept asking why it was difficult to get people with such ideas to govern all states in the North? Well few years down the line, he is governor of Kaduna state and he has began deploying some of those ideas to moving Kaduna state to enviable heights.
In comes KadInvest2016. Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit comes up 6–7 April, 2016 in Kaduna. The aim of the summit is to open Kaduna state up for investment through reshaping state structure to suit private sector investment to bring about job creation and economic growth.
For many who followed that intellectual discourse of Malam Nasir El-Rufai , the realization of opening Kaduna for business isn’t new. For those who didn’t, it will definitely be fresh contact with this part of his thoughts. But more importantly, it is happening at a time in the history of this nation when national attention is shifting from the discourse of oil, to diversification of economic sources of income.
In December of 2015, Malam Nasir El-Rufai laid the foundation for this by signing into law a budget of 171.7bn Naira with 109.3b Naira channeled to capital and while 62.4bn Naira recurrent expenditure. This was a turning point for States in Northern Nigeria. By doing so, the former FCT minister painted a picture he wants the direction of his administration to take. Overtime, we have had governors who do nothing but share FAAC allocation coming from the Centre. It became a recurrent government of paying salaries with no ideas on how to move Northern States forward or create jobs for the teeming young Labour force.
With Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, Malam Nasir El-Rufai is not only looking at creating jobs for young entrepreneurs but also linking commercial-oriented SMEs to rewarding markets and facilitating the availability of information on investment. To make sure these is achieved, months back he set up an entrepreneurship program aimed at arming people with ideas with the needed knowledge and training. This was done in collaboration with some financial institutions who will provide needed finance to help young entrepreneurs establish themselves in a proper way. In the long run, we would see a Kaduna where capable, energetic and idea driven young people run successful business creating employment for many others and rendering quality services.
Wisely, the government has identified priority investment sectors in the next four years. This will help the government to focus on areas that need urgent intervention. Power (Renewable energy), Agriculture, Housing and Manufacturing stand out for me. If the government gets these things right, we would have a solid foundation to build on going forward.
Strategically, the summit will address financial topics, investment strategies and perspectives on Kaduna state economy. The summits aims at targeting international and local investors thereby persuading them with factual data to embrace Kaduna as their investment destination.
Kaduna Investment and economic summit is organised by the recently established Kaduna state Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), hosted by Malam Nasir El-Rufai and co-host include The Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).
Clearly, everything is been put in place to move Kaduna state forward. Kaduna Investment and Economic Summit is just one of Malam Nasir El-Rufai administration’s strategic moves and soon Kaduna a state will be great.
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