By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna.
As the Kaduna economic and investment summit tagged “KadInvest 2016; Let’s Move Kaduna Into The Global Economy” open in Kaduna today, various stakeholders have restated the strategic economic viability of the state with assurances to revive collapse factories and establish new ones in partnership with the state government.
Unveiling the economic vision, the state Governor, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai took participants through his government’s five year plans on how to achieve the vision.
He presented what he met, what he intend to do and how to take the state out of economic doldrum and make it a hub of northern economic centre, and restore its old glory of repute when it was know as the Manchester of Nigeria.
El-Rufai said his administration is now cutting cost and waste, improving efficiency and making sacrifices, restoring basic building blocks for development.
He revealed that this year he cut Government House budget from over two billion naira in 2015 to a little bit above five hundred million naira. Budget 27.9 billion naira for rducation, sent 21 bills to the state House of Assemlby with 12 passed.
He named the passed bills as; Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency, Kaduna Internal Revenue Service,Kaduna Geographic Information Service, Pension Reform Law, Public Finance Management and Control Law, Kaduna Master Plan among others.
The Governor also revealed that the top capital project he intend to embark on include; ten billion naira rapid rail system, five billion naira 30 megawat Gurara Dam to power the whole of Kakuri Industrial layout as a means of reviving collapsed industries. 2.1 billion naira rice production for farmers to access loan at zero interest and five billion naira ginger production among others.
He however stressed that the greatest challenge to achieving these loafty dreams is the dwindling income to finance the budget. But assured that the plans can be achieved by stronger ownership of the plan by MDAs, LGAs through monitoring and implementation. Strong linkage of the plan to the annual budget. Efficient devalution of responsibilities among others.
There were goodwill messages from stakeholders; bauchi State Governor Muhammed Abubakar said El-Rufai has kick started a process that every government must key into. He advised that in the face of the dwindling income, every state must learn to diversify.
His Kebbi State Counterpart, Atiku Bagudu said competitiveness is a product of policy and investor agencies must do their best to showcase the comparative advantage of the North in agriculture and the incentives for investors.
Representative of Dangote Group promised the the group would invest ten million dollars in tomatoe paste industry in the shortest time possible.
There messages from the United kingdom High Commissioner, United State Embassy, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Nigeria investment Promotion Commission, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), NEXIM Bank among others.
The two day summit continues tomorrow with prominent individuals from government, private business and development partners expected to give talks.