President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Kaduna State Government to keep up its laudable investment efforts and surpass the impressive results already attained.
The president, who was the special guest at the fifth edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest), commended the "Kaduna State Government for its efforts to establish its credentials as the investment destination of choice in Nigeria".
The president spoke after Governor Nasir El-Rufai revealed that Kaduna State has attracted both domestic and foreign investments worth about $800 million since 2015, with investors pledging a further $2.1bn.
The maiden edition of KADINVEST 1.0 was held from 6th to 7th April, 2016, with the theme, "Let's Move Kaduna into the Global Economy".
The annual summit has been held since 2016 but this is the first time the event would hold virtually and the theme of KADINVEST 5.0 is, "Infrastructure, Industrialisation and Innovation."
Mr El-Rufai, who gave an overview of what the previous summits achieved, said that "Kaduna has faced fiscal headwinds as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, with several mitigating strategies aimed at repositioning the state to maintain solvency and emerge stronger post pandemic."
According to the governor, KADINVEST 1.0 attracted 25 businesses and local as well as foreign investments worth $500 million.
"The summit also facilitated investments through the creation of a one-stop shop and operationalising of the ease of doing business charter, to break down barriers to investments and expansion of the fiscal space," he added.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu delivering his goodwill message
Mr El-Rufai further said that the second edition of the summit, KADINVEST 2.0, witnessed the launching of Kaduna State Development Plan(SDP) and "Sector Implementation Plan(SIP) as a vehicle to achieving SDP through annual budgeting framework."
"The Ease of Doing Business charter, Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) system, the Eyes and Ears Citizens Engagement platform were all launched at KADINVEST 2.0," he added.
According to him, a three-year Memorandum of Understand(MoU) with the United States Agency for International Development(USAID), to help drive the economic development of the state was signed at the event.
He further said that that edition of the summit attracted "a number of foreign Direct Investment in the state, especially Olam Poultry and Feed mill, Mass Housing at Millennium City and KADICT."
The governor also said that Kaduna State Infrastructure Masterplan(2015-2050), 14 + investments solidified through foreign and local domestic investments, were launched at the third edition of KADINVEST 3.0. El Rufai said that the summit focused on building human capital, adding that it attracted 79% Foreign Direct Investment and 21% Domestic Investment.
"Last year, KADINVEST 4.0 focused on the operationalisation of Kaduna Industrial Plan and Improvement of the investment portfolio by 300%", he further pointed out. The governor said that Kaduna was launched into the Industry 4.0 phase by focusing on developing a knowledge driven economy while revamping industries, during the summit.
Mr El-Rufai said that Kaduna State took some measures in order to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, by commencing staff verification and screening to reduce overhead cost. According to him, the government revised the 2020 budget to manage the revenue and expenditure impact of Covid-19 .
President Muhammadu Buhari joined KADInvest from Aso Villa and delivered a goodwill message
In his good will message, President Buhari noted that KADINVEST "has become a respected fixture on the investment calendar, held annually since 2016."
According to him, "it is a fitting statement of the resilience of the Kaduna State Government that it is able to host the 2020 edition amidst the severe disruptions to the normal order caused by Covid-19. This is the sort of determined focus that can help the country to navigate the challenging consequences of the pandemic," President Buhari added.
Mr Buhari commended the efforts of the Kaduna State Government for establishing its credentials as the investment destination of choice in Nigeria.
"These efforts have received just recognition in the response of the business community which has put in new investments in the state. It is hardly a surprise that Kaduna State has emerged as the leading destination for foreign direct investment within Nigeria.
"This is a further affirmation of the ranking of the state as Number One for Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2018. I call on the Kaduna State Government to keep up these laudable efforts and surpass the impressive results already attained," he added.