The Executive Secretary of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), UMMA ABOKI, disclosed why Kaduna State is now the best investment destination in the country and how it surpassed the World Bank target of 170 days to register a business, in the interview below.
Last week, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) listed Kaduna State as the first sub-national to attract the highest Direct Foreign Investment in the last six months, beating Lagos State to the second position. How did you achieve this feat?
When we came on board, one of the key focus of the Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai administration is investment drive and we deliberated and agreed that private sector has to drive the economic development of the state. And the state on its part, will provide an enabling environment for the private sector to come in and put up the investments. Ab initio, the government was focused on that and it birthed the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), which is a one-stop shop that attracts, facilitates and coordinates investments. It serves as a linkage between investors and government agencies to ensure that everything they need within the state is derived on time without bureaucracy.
To get the agencies on board, we then created the Ease of Doing Business charter, which brought all agencies into one committee. The Ease of Doing Business committee comprises all key service delivery agencies like Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), Kaduna Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA), Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA), Kaduna Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS), Ministry of Business Innovation and Technology and KADIPA. We collectively looked at the processes of the service we offer to the private sector, individuals and companies and identified steps and processes that can be removed to ensure efficiency and service delivery in record time and best rate for investors. All agencies agreed to re-evaluate their processes and reduce the timeline. Today, we are proud to say that from 230 days duration to register a business in Kaduna State, the review by the World Bank in 2018 showed that we are now at 132 days. The target of the World Bank was 170 days, so we beat the target. However our target is to be able to complete the process in less than 100 days.
Since KADIPA came into being, how many companies have set shop in Kaduna State so far? And what is the volume of investment?
We have about 50 companies, both foreign and local investors, who have come through KADIPA. There are also investors who came in on their own and have businesses and companies in Kaduna State. We have been meeting with the owners of such businesses and bringing them on board. KADIPA also provides after-care services for already set up businesses and investors, whether or not they came in through KADIPA. We meet with the investors and advise them on how to make their businesses grow. We have recorded some big investments in the likes of Olam Poultry Feed Mill, Hatchery and Breeders Farm and Mahindra Tractor Assembly Plant, Tomato Jos Processing Plant to mention a few.
In the last six months, KADIPA has raked in about $2.6 billion, according to Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission. Can you give a sectoral analysis of what each company brought to the table?
The key sectors involved in this investment are agriculture, mining, power and aviation. The African Steel Investment is about $600 million, it is the single largest investment in sub-Saharan Africa, we are very proud to achieve that feat.
Where in Kaduna State is African Steel located and when will it be up and running?
They hope to commission the first phase of the factory this year, by the end of the year. It is almost the same as Ajaokuta Steel company because they both do steel mining. However, Africa Steel company is private sector driven, Kaduna State has a large deposit of steel that's why they have come to invest here. The factory is located along Kaduna-Abuja road, close to Jere junction.
What is your projection of job opportunities for the people of Kaduna State when it begins production?
Our focus has always been in sectors where there is high labour demand like agriculture, mining, cotton and textile sector. We have a framework in place that allows engaging the farmers themselves in agricultural projects, by ensuring that they have ownership. When the big companies come to Kaduna State to set shop, we give them a large piece of land to do the farming themselves. But we encourage them to engage the farmers; this will enable the farmers to have a stake in the company that is operated within their community. The company trains the farmers and provides them with seedlings and the farmers have a stake in the company and they receive returns as the company grows.
Kaduna used to be a textile town like Manchester city in the United Kingdom, what is being done to revive these textile industries that are moribund?
As a state, we have engaged the renowned economist, Professor Justin Lee of the Institute of Structural Economics in the University of Pekin, China. Kaduna State signed an MOU and we engaged with him and we have received a draft of what we should put in place to revive the textile sector. It is a work in progress and we hope to achieve notable transformation before the end of this administration.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo gave Kaduna State the thumbs up for supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. What specifically did your agency do in this regard?
We got the award for the most supportive MSME clinic state in Nigeria. The MSMEs are the largest employers of labour and we have a lot of initiatives in place, like Kaduna Start-up and Entrepreneurship Programme (KADSTEP), which is a programme for graduates, where they take a six months intensive programme on how to run a business. We are in partnership with Kaduna Business School and at the end of the programme the participants write a business proposal and if it is assessed and found viable, Kaduna State is in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI). The BOI provides the participants with the start up capital for the business and the loan interest rate is at 5%.
Another initiative is the Kaduna State Women Empowerment Fund (KADSWEF), which was launched by Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, that over the years we have kept increasing steadily at a 100% rate. In 2018, we kick started the programme with N200 million, by 2019 we jumped to N600 million and then we will disburse N800 million for the year 2020. The funds are channeled towards women MSMEs and business women. The programme reaches every door step and any business owner can access the funds, the 5% interest rate is flexible and it has a very easy repayment process.
The 5th edition of the Kaduna Investment Submit was to hold in April, but it was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Are you shelving it completely this year, considering that the disease is still around?
We won't shelve it; we are planning to host it via Webinar. We are working on it, already we have picked a date to host it which is on 21st and 22nd of September 2020. We are hoping to commission our Dangote-Peugeot automobile plant just to show the world that business continues despite the pandemic and to show that we still have investors who believe and are committed to invest in Kaduna State.
KADIPA is a one-stop shop for investors and has organised four editions of Kaduna Economic and Investment summits;
It has attracted companies like Olam, Mahindra, OCP Africa, Blue Camel, DPAN, Infinera, Funsho Acreage etc to Kaduna State;
Coordinated the Ease of Doing Business reforms;
World Bank ranks Kaduna State as the most improved and number 1 in the Ease of Doing Business;
Kaduna State is also the number 1 sub-national in "Registering a Property," number 1 in "Enforcing a Contract" component, number 5 in "Starting a Business" and number 17 in "Obtaining Construction Permits" in Nigeria;
KADIPA is central to the creation of Kaduna State Entrepreneurship Program (KADSTEP) and the Kaduna ICT Hub, thereby creating hundreds of successful entrepreneurs across ICT and Agricultural sectors;
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission's "Report of Investment Announcements, H1 2020, placed Kaduna State as the number 1 investment destination in the first half of 2020;
KADIPA has attracted $2.61 billion worth of investments, despite the downward pressure on investment flows and the negative global economic impact of COVID-19;
The Agency also organized the 2018 MSME Clinics, Kaduna Edition, an initiative of the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, to create synergy between government agencies and small businesses;
Kaduna State has won "SMEDAN'S BEST MSME CLINIC SUPPORT STATE" in 2020, at the 3rd National MSME Awards (Virtual Edition) organized by the Office of the Vice President.