The Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Kaduna State, Ruth Geoffrey Alkali gives an assessment of the activities of the ministry since 2015, Excepts;
Madam, please briefly narrate the activities of your ministry since 2015.
The Ministry of Commerce is saddle with responsibility of promoting commercial activities, investment, and tourism in the state.
In the aspect of commerce we know we have achieved a lot in Kaduna State. In the aspect of investors coming to Kaduna, from where we met the programme in 2015, it is not the same as we are going out.
Thank God his Excellency, Governor Mallam Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai is doing a lot to see that Kaduna is well developed because we are not even thinking of Kaduna to be like Abuja, but rather we are thinking that Kaduna will have a lot of investors just as Lagos State.
The ministry, when the administration came on board in 2015, I came in last year, although government is a continuum where you come in, you take over you continue from where your predecessor stopped and that is where you will start.
I cannot say that I don’t know the achievements of the ministry since 2015, but I know some of the achievements. We met some dilapidated companies which some of them we are trying to see that we commercialize them and bring other investors that will bring development to them.
Like the issue of textile, His Excellency is working seriously to see that he revived the textile industry or rather bring new investors that will build a better textile, because the equipment of before and nowadays are not the same. And he is working seriously to bring on board new investors.
You can see that the Almighty Holland are in Kaduna State producing a lot of feeds and are supplying to various states.
And not only that, I think they produce rice and they are doing a lot of things. The citizens of Kaduna State are gaining seriously from it, like the poultry side, they are trying to see that across the zones people from different villages, the farmers will benefit.
We are still working on it which I believe the next dispensation, after the inauguration will kick off. Even my local government is being selected to be part of the exercise. There is one in zone one, Kagarko is in zone three and subsequently to other zones. It is going to be like loan to people. The owner will build the place, and then they will give it to the farmers to manage the place and in collaboration with Bank of Industry and other banks that will like to come in. This is a long time plan, but very soon it is going to kick off. And after some times the operator will become the owner after he might have repaid the money invested in the venture.
Some of the achievement we have made, like the BATC (Business, Apprenticeship and Training Centres), they are across the twenty three local government areas of the State.
Out of those BATC, we met them dilapidated and through the help of DFID in collaboration with Kaduna State government we are able to upgrade those BATC to Community Skill Development Centres which the agreement is that Kaduna State will manage the place, renovate the buildings and put new structures, then the DFID will bring the equipment which we have about seven trades and we have pilot zones. We have in zone one, we have in Sabon Gari, Zaria, we have in Mando and in Kagoro, that is Kafanchan side.
Since it kicked off, we have graduated about five hundred and forty students and we gave them starter packs.
We did the graduation some time last year and presently as we speak, they have about one thousand students. We are looking forward that they will graduate between the end of the year or early next year. And when they graduate we give them starter packs according to their trades.
We have the second pilot thing that is going on in three zones also, we have Markarfi, we have Agwan Mu’azu and we have Kachia. They will be completed soon. The equipment are already on ground. DFID have brought the materials.
Our target groups are the marginalized people and dropouts, then the Almajeris.
We have renovated some of the boreholes at the trade fair ground, we turn them to centres where we train graduates in collaboration with Stanbic IBTC. And we have another building in Kakuri where SMEDAN is collaborating with the state government.
The governor has done a lot in the issue of business registration. The state wanted to automate it which has been done. Kaduna State is one of the best states in the ease of doing business. We have reduced the steps in our business registration process from twenty three to six steps just to ease the investors coming to Kaduna State. And through the help of KADIPA an agency like ICPC in Abuja, they are in charge of the investors proper.
After they receive the investors, the ministry will keep the records of all the investors that are coming to Kaduna State.
In the area of tourism, we have some challenges, in Kaduna State. When the administration came in 2015, His Excellency went into agreement on Kagoro hill. Even the construction of road has started for the state to have a five star hotel in Kagoro Hill so that it will be like Obudu Hill in Cross River State. The Chinese people came, they went to site and in 2016, 2017, had security challenges around that area and the people left the site.
In the issue tourism, the Queen Amina in Zaria site, the ABU Zaria and the government are collaborating so that ABU will take over. The Memorandum of Understanding have been signed, Kaduna State University wants to take part of it.
In tourism, we want to make it private driven programme. Like Gangi Park, we have leased it out to another company, they are running it.
We want to create an agency that will be in charge of issuing loans and handling the issue of skill acquisition only.
The biggest challenge the ministry is facing is funding. The government met an empty treasury and the governor has worked on that by leasing out some of the government hotels. And through help of TSA, the government has been able to raise fund.
The State could not access the World Bank loan because senators from the state refused to sign for the state to be able to assess the loan.