Katsina plans investment summit to break from oil dependency

Ma​s​a​r​i addressing the press, With him is Summit Chairman, Ibrahim Jikamshi (left) and other officials

The proposed Katsina mega investment summit would provide a meeting point for over 500 prospective local and international investors interested in doing business in the state.

The state governor, Aminu Masari, said at a pre-summit briefing in Abuja on Wednesday that the state would use the event to showcase its huge potentials and opportunities to friendly investors interested in participating in the development of its economy.

“Over time, Katsina did not invest heavily in agriculture and solid minerals when we had the opportunity. Now we realize it’s time to go back to our history and take steps to free our future from continuous dependence.

“We are in government to lay a solid foundation of development for generations that would come in 100 years. Our mission with the investment summit is to make the state self-sufficient and not depend on oil revenue like the Nigerian state,” Mr. Masari said.

The governor said with a large population, land and water, Katsina State has some of the best potentials that, if properly harnessed, would help create the opportunity for growth for the future.

With an average internally generated revenue of only N450 and N500 million a month, a growing population and huge demands for infrastructure and social services, the governor said his administration was doing everything to change the revenue profile of the state needed.

“We have a baseline strategy for the development of the state. At the end of four years, if we achieve 70 per cent of our objectives, we will know where we would be in eight years,” he said.

To assure investors of adequate energy supply, the governor said the state was developing a 300 megawatts, MW solar system to be completed next year, while a wind farm that would produce about 10 MW of power has reached 95 per cent completion stage.

​The chairman of the planning committee, Ibrahim Jikamshi, said the summit would target friendly countries as well as local and international investors interested in taking advantage of the viable incentives guaranteed by the state government to invest in the state.

Mr. Jikamshi said the key objectives of the summit included revitalizing the private sector as the engine room for employment, wealth creation and prosperity, while enhancing the state’s capacity as a viable investment hub in Northern Nigeria and the world.

He described the summit scheduled for May 9 to 11 in Katsina as a platform for dialogue for potential investors to interact on the theme: Unlocking investment potentials for sustainable development.

He identified agric-business and its complete value chain as one of priority areas the state would focus on showcasing at the summit, apart from solid minerals, energy and power, property development, hospitality and creative art industry as well as infrastructure development.

So far, the chairman said the committee set up last year to plan for the event has reviewed the state’s incentive policies and developed investors’ guide handbook based on the review of the state’s maiden economic development summit in 2005.

“Since the creation of the state in 1987, no economic summit brought people together to discuss how investors would develop the state through entrepreneurship. This summit is going to be the first to engage under-utilized resources to create an efficient investment climate and a prosperous state for all,” Mr. Jikamshi said.

He said about 140 entrepreneurs and enterprises that were ready to do business in the state have been identified after a needs assessment of potential investors, assuring that the companies would have the opportunity to interact with other foreign and local investors interested in discussing bordering on technical or financial assistance.

As No 1 producer of cotton and one third of sugar cane in Nigeria, Mr. Jikamshi said Katsina, which is the second largest producer of sorghum, also known as home for tomato, rice production, flour, textile milling, dairy products, confectionaries, hatchery, poultry, solid minerals, caolin, asbestos, gold, marble and granite.

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