Adejoh Idoko Momoh: Indebted Nigerian States and Lessons from Kaduna

Most Nigerian states presently battle for survival. The Federal Government who from allocations has saved them time and again battles even bigger demons; foreign exchange unavailability, currency instability, low oil prices, militant activity on its oil pipelines amongst many other ills.

It will be wise though if states choose to see this battle as a challenge of some sort: if they choose to look inwards and admit the hard truth and say to themselves ‘our development needs are varied and we just don’t have the income or capacity to fulfill them’

This is why it is delightful to find states that are willing to tell themselves this, to face up to the reality of their inadequacies and seek other sources of income that fulfill this development deficit.

It is easy to turn to loans; after all donor agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are always on the ready, willing to offer loans in exchange for some controlling economic power over the state.

Kaduna is one state that isn’t towing the lazy route though; on the 6th and 7th April, 2016, the state threw its doors open for partnerships and investment in an elaborate event aptly tagged ‘Kadinvest 2016: Let’s Move Kaduna into the Global Economy’; This is a brilliant example of state expense that has proven to be a very wise investment decision. Several other Nigerian states including Katsina and Enugu have followed in Kaduna’s footsteps and have since concluded their own economic summits.

Kaduna will surely see tremendous investor fund inflow in the year to come, and this is for three reasons mainly.

First, the state is constantly updating legislation to ensure that conditions surrounding starting and doing a business are conducive; principal among them is the recent creation of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) which is a one stop shop for all investment promotion activities in the State. Investors can cut through all the red tape, deal with this one agency for all the information, data or guidance they need.

Second, multiple taxation and its associated bottlenecks have plagued and stifled state investments for decades. In a bid to be rid of this, the state promulgated a tax codification law which essentially compiles all taxes and levies in a single document for easy reference.

It logically follows that the third is the unveiling of the Kaduna State Inland Revenue Service (KADIRS) which is the sole revenue collector in the state. What this has done is investors and partners alike are sure that if they only deal with the KADIRS, they are sure of no dubious or questionable fee payments. All these in addition to the fact that they will no longer be accosted by multiple levy collecting agencies who just delight in harassing business owners; such peace of mind.

These models adopted by the state have already began to yield benefits:

Indorama for instance, has committed to building an organic fertilizer plant in Kaduna. The Dangote group plans to spend USD10million in building a tomato processing plant, Stallion Group will invest USD100million in rice farming and Olam with its N30bn investment will build an integrated feed mill complete with a poultry farm. Upon completion, the farm will have the capacity to produce about 1 million chicks a day.

UACN Property Development Company has concluded a ground breaking ceremony for Galaxy mall in Kaduna, while Lakeview Estate is building an estate in Kaduna’s Millennium City.

The real benefit of getting investor commitment is not just in the jobs and economic benefits they create, surely those are just as important, but it’s also in the sectored advantages that arise. Commitments from companies like Olam, Dangote and Stallion will translate to increased food production. Lakeview and UACN on the other hand will significantly reduce the state’s housing and leisure deficit.

The year ahead will undoubtedly see economic progress and the Kaduna State Government acknowledges its part in all of this.

This is how Kaduna’s once great economy will be restored.


Adejoh can be reached at and tweets @Adejoh