Beyond the yearly gathering of intellectuals, captains of industry and top government officials as well as groundbreaking ceremonies and commissioning of some projects, what has Kaduna Investment Summit (KADINVEST) achieved in the last five years?
For us as a state, the Kaduna Investment Summit (KADINVEST) has helped showcase the state to the world. It has put us on the world map as an investment destination of choice and it has shown people what the Kaduna State Government is doing. We continue to show the world the reforms that we have undertaken to promote investment in the state. And we have seen our investment portfolio grow, which is a plus for us. We have continued to receive inquiries from investors every day. I think the Kaduna Investment Agency (KADIPA) gets many proposals for one project or the other. Every credible businessman is keen on bringing investment in the state and to see how we can work together to develop the state.
How was KADIPA able to earn investors’ confidence in the last five years, so much that it is an investment destination of choice?
The first was Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s key decision to establish KADIPA as a one-stop shop for investors. Which means that as you come into Kaduna state, there is an agency where you can ask all the questions about investment opportunities. You also have an agency that can guide you and work with other agencies to get your approvals. The next thing that we did was also to get all the agencies that provide services to investors to sign what we call a Service Charter. This charter commits every agency to delivering the service that it provides, within a record period. So, every agency is aware of its responsibility. So, that has built confidence in investors, and it has made us to have a coordinated working relationship with Ministries, Departments and Agencies that support us.
Apart from laying the policy framework, how did the agency build the capacity to focus on driving investment processes?
We have a very robust board which is chaired by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe. The reconstituted board also has the former Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi II, as the vice chairman. So, we have a very supportive board. We have also filled up vacancies in the agency with competent hands. We work closely with Development Partners who have continued to assist us in capacity building. And very recently, the state adopted the PPP policy manual, which really gives a framework for how we will enter a public-private partnership with investors, so that things are not done haphazardly. We have trained staff from other MDAs to work with us in this regard. We have trained desk officers in the local governments to also understand how they can drive investments in the area councils.
Recently, we embarked on certification courses for KADIPA staff, to be experts in Public Private Partnerships. The government is also sponsoring a couple of staff for an MBA in Public Private Partnership, in Malaysia University of Science and Technology. We have also restructured the agency. We did a Corporate Planning exercise to make it more vibrant. We worked with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom and other Development Partners to help us develop capacity in line with global best practices.
We have gotten KADIPA registered with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. We are the first subnational in the country, and probably in Africa, to be registered. Our aim is to ensure that KADIPA is recognized worldwide, and our processes are in line with global best practices.
We used to operate under civil service rules and procedures, but very recently, we have been taken off that structure. So, our enabling law empowers our board to hire and fire, to also determine the remunerations for the agency’s staff and that is how we were able to attract good hands into the agency.
In a pre-event press briefing, you said that KADINVEST has so far attracted about $2 billion worth of investments into Kaduna state. How have these investments impacted on the wellbeing of the people of Kaduna state?
A lot of the investments that we have attracted are huge Foreign Direct Investments. These are investments that have been sited in the middle of nowhere. For example, where Olam is, is our Green Agro-Allied Industrial Zone, which is along the Kaduna-Abuja way and now you have a lot of economic activity around the area. The place has developed so fast, we are building a Grains Market there so that our people don’t have to keep going up and down. They can just bring their grains there and sell. Olam off-takes grains from local farmers once they meet their quality. So, this has helped in empowering our people.
The company has created enormous jobs, both direct and indirect. Between the top three investments that we have in the state—Olam, African Natural Resources and Mines, and others—they have provided 500,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state. So, that is our number one priority; bringing economic development in the areas where they are located and providing necessary jobs. The companies also train local talents and impart skills. For example, Olam trains our farmers in modern agriculture, supports them with inputs, and maximizes the yield of their farms.
We plan to create more industrial areas in Kaduna state. For example, we are going to create a ‘Health City’ along the new Rabah road to the Rigasa train station. This will provide an opportunity for investors in the health sector to build hospitals and diagnostics centers because we will want Kaduna state to become a medical tourism state, so that we can retain the money that is being spent abroad on medical tourism.
Kaduna state has been ranked as number in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rating amongst states in Nigeria. What did you do as an agency to enable this assessment?
First, we identified those sectors that are critical to the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria; the critical things that investors worldwide will require to ease their businesses. These are what the World Bank is looking at when it does its analysis. There are land matters, tax matters, building permits, environmental impact assessment, business premises registration and all that. So, we asked ourselves, what do we do to ensure that the agencies that provide these services are automated and provide their services optimally and people are happy?
We got all the agencies on board and had a conversation, where we asked them what support they needed from us. First, we looked at their processes and took out those that are no longer relevant and necessary. When we did that, we asked the agencies to go back and review what we did. Afterwards, we then decided to automate these essential processes. We want to save people from having to go to the agencies every day to get documents; going from office to office, pursuing files, and so on. We want them to do all these from the comfort of their homes. So, we automated the processes and the first automation that government did was that of KADGIS, which was turned into a world class geographic information agency. This is what every state in Nigeria is copying. Kaduna state has an automated land registry.
How relevant is this year’s theme, ‘’Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy,’’ to the investment potential of the state?
We are looking at the world post-Covid and one of the things that has come out from the pandemic is that you can do a lot of work from home. And that the world must go digital and that there are jobs that are no longer relevant. Why we chose this theme is that we would like to have a conversation on the demands for the jobs of today. What kind of skills are relevant in today’s world; what do we need to do as a state to ensure that we are ready for that?
We foresaw this even before Covid-19. When the governor assumed office, the first thing he did was convert Kaduna state into an e-governance state. This is because technology is the way to go, and we didn’t see Covid coming. So, when the pandemic came, it was very easy for us to adapt; none of our work stopped because we continued to work online and remotely. We even had council meetings via Zoom. Our KADINVEST 5.0 was a hybrid of physical and virtual event.
A knowledge-based economy is what will drive investments and sustain them. It is what will ensure that the economy will continue to grow. For us as a state, we don’t want to bring an investment where we cannot guarantee that a substantial workforce that it requires. Part of our major aim is to ensure that the people that they hire for the jobs that are being created are available within the state.
Kaduna used to be the nation’s textile hub, where a substantial number of textile companies are located. Somehow, almost all the companies are now comatose. Is KADIPA planning an edition of KADINVEST, where the issue of how they will be revived will be extensively discussed?
The issue of the Cotton Textile and Garment industry (CTG), as we prefer to call it, is a conversation that is ongoing. When we came, it was one of the critical things for us as a state because we knew that the textile industry back then in the 70s, used to provide most of the jobs in Kaduna state. So, as a state, we engaged the services of Professor Justin Lin from the Institute of Structural Economics to help us work on how to revive the CTG sector. An agreement has been signed. What stalled it was the COVID pandemic of 2020. The Vice Chairman of KADIPA, former Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi II, who sits on the board of United Nigerian Textiles Limited (UNTL), brought them on board and they made a presentation to the State Executive Council.
UNTL is planning a holistic revival because even the textile industry has now changed. Doing things the way they were done before will not work now. So, they are looking at the complete value-chain. They are proposing a Textile Park, where they will take the full value-chain into consideration, from farming of the cotton to textile to garmenting. And they will attract other businesses that will simply set up shop in the state. We are having that conversation and it will be part of KADIVEST 6.0
- The maiden edition of Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADINVEST) 1.0 was held from 6th – 7th April, 2016, with the theme, ‘‘Let’s Move Kaduna into the Global Economy’’;
- KADINVEST 2.0 held from Wednesday 5th – Thursday 6th April 2017 and the theme was “Making Kaduna the Investment Destination of Choice”;
- The theme of KADINVEST 3.0, which held in April, 2018, was ‘’Partnership for Development” and it focused on building Human Capital;
- The fourth edition of the summit was held in 2019 and the focus was on ‘’Expanding Investment Frontiers”;
- The theme of KADINVEST 5.0 was ’Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation’’
- This year, KADINVEST 6.0 will dwell on ‘’Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy’’