By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday appealed to the people causing mayhem in Kaduna State to learn to live with their neighbours in peace and harmony, without which he said development would be an illusion.
Speaking at the virtual opening of the Fifth Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, with the theme: “KADInvest 5.0, Infrastructure, Industrialisation and Innovation,” Buhari urged the people to cooperate with government and security agencies to pave the way for desired peace and harmony.
A statement by the president’s media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari submitted that development would only take place when energies were collectively channelled towards building as against the destruction of lives and property.
He commended the government of Kaduna State for positioning itself as one of the “investment destinations” in Nigeria.
He described the economic initiative as an affirmation of the ranking of the state as number one in Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 and asked the state to sustain the status.
“We must live together as brothers and sisters because without peace, development cannot take place,’’ the President noted.
“I wish to commend the efforts of the Kaduna State Government to establish its credentials as one of the new investment destinations 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.
“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,’’ Buhari said.
The president said he was impressed by Kaduna’s ability to use KADInvest platform to showcase its investment potentials, noting that the state has increased its revenue from N13 billion to N44 billion.
Buhari also observed that the success of state governments in attracting investments, creating jobs and increasing their internally generated revenues would be critical to the development of the entire country.
He said: “Therefore, I am impressed that the Kaduna State Government has from inception used KADInvest as a serious platform for showcasing its investment potentials.
“The state’s commitment to consistent implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Charter is exemplary, including its ability to increase its Internally Generated Revenue to N44bn in 2019 from N13bn in 2015 without hiking tax rates. This is very laudable.’’
Buhari commended Kaduna State Government for making KADInvest a regular fixture on the investment calendar, held annually since 2016.
He also acknowledged the state’s resolute decision to host this year’s economic summit despite the disruptions of economic activities by COVID-19.
The president recalled how he had commissioned notable companies in the state in the past and various investments made in the state in recent times.
“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.
“It was my pleasure to commission the Olam Hatchery and Feed Mill project in 2017, about 18 months after the ground-breaking was done at the first edition of KADInvest in 2016. It is commendable that investors like Tomato Jos are creating jobs in the agribusiness sector, taking advantage of Kaduna State’s prioritisation of agriculture.
“I also note with delight the success of new investments in renewable energy like Blue Camel and tractor assembly and the revitalisation of poultry farms across the state.
“The ongoing development of iron mining and steel processing capacity in the state through investments by African Natural Resources and Mines Limited is especially commendable,” he added.
Buhari pledged federal government’s continued support for efforts meant to attract investments with the capacity for job creation.
He added that much could be done to boost human capital development and expand the frontiers of economic development.
He also said he was confident that Kaduna would explore federal government’s investment platforms such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project.
He sought the state’s cooperation with the federal government on the project as well as the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Highway.
“We believe that much can be done at the sub-national level to drive human capital development and expand economic opportunity. I note with delight the massive investments in infrastructure upgrade Kaduna State is executing through the urban renewal programmes in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria.
“Given the track record since 2015, I have no doubt that the Kaduna State Government and its private sector partners will take full advantage of the economic windows that are being opened by Federal Government investments such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline.
“The state government should afford full cooperation and support to cross-border federal projects such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Highway,’’ he submitted.