A Case Study In Reforms: Lessons from Nigeria’s Kaduna State

The Kaduna State Government has very clear ideas about where it wants to get before 2019 when the current mandate of this incumbent administration ends. It has clearly articulated its ideas for sectors including water, health, agriculture and housing.

Thus far, these ideas have been met with the kind of political will that translates thinking to reality. Cost saving measures including a 60% reduction on all overheads state-wide and a 20% cut on the salaries of all political appointees have been introduced to allow for more savings and fund availability for infrastructure development.

Through its Ministry of Budget and Planning, the state has established a systematic framework to enable citizen participation as well as input in the State Development Plan (SDP). To make the SDP’s actionable, it has been further broken down into achievable segments called Sector Implementation Plans (SIP).

The overarching plan and the resultant sector specific ones are aimed at ensuring that reform efforts in the areas of healthcare, infrastructure provision inclusive of housing, improved transportation, education and job creation, are successful. It will do this by ensuring that effective performance monitors mechanisms are adopted.

The current administration intends to leave behind a post 2019 workforce that is capable of sustaining the policy, attitudinal and financial reforms currently taking place. To this end the State recently launched a job seekers portal embedded in its official website. The aim is for job seekers to access the requisite page on the site, input their data according to submission guidelines and submit it to a database being created and updated by the State.

Nigeria has generally been inefficient with data gathering and if Kaduna succeeds, it will be one of only a few states that has accurate data of its unemployed population and can therefore match their skills with viable job opportunities as well as make social intervention where necessary.

Further to this, the Kaduna Start-Up and Entrepreneurship Program (KADSTEP), launched in conjunction with the Kaduna Business School is currently in its 3rd phase. The program is aimed at encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs by analysing their ideas, providing training in areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and business skills development and then linking these entrepreneurs with funding sources that provide the funds needed to help them actualise these ideas.

In its first phase, KADSTEP trained about 300 students, and 500 pupils are set to graduate from its second phase which will come to a close on 12th October, 2016. The application cycle for its third phase is currently open and the program intends to provide training to more aspiring entrepreneurs as more phases open for applications.

The KADSTEP has already started yielding fruit; currently N429m has been disbursed to 55 entrepreneurs who have started businesses in various entrepreneurial endeavours. 144 alumni of the program are at various stages of accessing their loans.

The intention of all these efforts is to re-energize Kaduna’s dwindling middle class by creating jobs that guarantee a disposable income that at the very least enables people support themselves, their families and hopefully contribute to the development of their societies.

As can be expected, Nigeria’s current recession has slowed the pace on a number of these reform efforts. Budget cuts and contract renegotiations have led to project delays and postponements.

Regardless of these setbacks, the Kaduna State Government is firm in its resolve to deliver on the positive results that these reform efforts will bring. This is why most of its more capital intensive new developments like housing and transportation are sponsored by Public Private Partnerships where the government mostly contributes land and other logistics in exchange for some equity.

The state’s housing deficit is huge and concerted efforts to fill this deficit are being made. In January this year, the state Government signed a MOU with Rapid Acc Construction and Properties Limited, and Hydraform Engineering Nigeria Limited, to see to the construction of about 250 affordable housing units in this first instance. Based on contractor performance and land provision by the State Government, this allotment may be further increased to 1000 housing units.

Urban Shelter limited is currently clearing a site in Kaduna’s Millennium City in Preparation for construction.  Similar agreements have also been signed with Horizon Construction, New Cruise Development and UPDC. When combined, they will provide about 7000 new homes in two years.

A loan has been obtained from the Islamic Development Bank to complete the 300 bed specialist and Teaching Hospital located in Kaduna’s Millennium City layout by June 2017. Upon its completion, this hospital will serve as the training school for medical graduates from the Kaduna State University and will provide both preventive and curative services for Cancer and Heart Disease, addiction and Psychological anomalies.

According to estimates, Nigerians spend $USD100million annually on foreign Cancer treatments alone and about $700 million on overseas medical treatment in general.

It is this population that will typically constitute the target market for this hospital. Imagine a situation where Nigerians can assess the same quality of treatment in Kaduna that they hitherto only assessed abroad, and how much good it will do for both our collective well-being and economy.

In the end, Governance should be about infrastructure and service delivery in a way that ensures sustainability in the long term. With its reform efforts the Kaduna State Government has laid the blue print to actualise these aspirations that result in sustained as well as progressive economic and infrastructural development.

Adejoh Momoh wrote in from Kaduna