Ganduje’s Reforms: Building Solid Foundation For Economic Prosperity of Kano State

By Oyewale Oyelola

When Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje was declared winner of 2015 governorship election in the most populated state in Nigeria-Kano State, it comes with mixed feeling for him because he emerged as governor about two decades after his first attempt in 1999 and this definitely made him a fulfilled man while on the other part thinking of how to fulfill his campaign promises amidst the huge debts his predecessor-Senator Musa Kwankwaso left for the new government.

The Transition Committee discovered that the state was indebted to the tune N300billion with hundreds of abandoned projects scattered all over the state. Therefore, Ganduje’s first day in office as governor was not for merry making but a day strategize and plan how to rescue the state from the current situation by using his wealth of experience and ingenuity to build viable economy for the state.

Apparently, the inauguration speech of Dr Abdullahi Ganduje on May 29, 2015 captured his plans of moving Kano State forward from present position by saying: “I am part and parcel of the Kwankwaso’s administration and whatever must have happened; we all should take the responsibility. On the issue of liabilities, yes, it is correct that we have huge liabilities, but that does not mean that it is a crime, we planned everything together with my boss (Kwankwaso); but unfortunately, what we envisaged did not work as the price of oil came down. So, what do we do? We could not complete the projects because of lack of funds-that is not a problem. Now, it is a matter of re-planning and rescheduling.”

As part of his re-planning strategy re-introduced Anti-Corruption Commission under Office-of-the-governor to curb corruption and block leakage in order make more funds available for development of the state. Kano State anti-graft commission few months after its establishment discovered embezzlement of the public money taking place at Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) and Refuse Management and Sanitation Board (REMASAB). The investigation panel was immediately raised and all the casual workers that were used as conduit pipe for siphoning public treasury were suspended.

Similarly, the governor also established Due Process Bureau to institute due diligence and reform culture in the operation of government to promote good governance in Kano State. The state immediately adopted Single Treasury Account in line with federal government policy to ensure financial prudency in the state and avoid sharp practices associated with keeping of multiple bank accounts by state government. Aside that, Governor Ganduje reduced allowances of all political appointees by 50 percent to accrue more revenue for development that will be beneficial to the masses who voted massively for APC during 2015 general elections.

In addition, Ganduje as part of his determination to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) set up an independent revenue collection agency-Kano State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) in order to block leakages and improve their productivity. Therefore, KIRS engaged about 1000 staff drive the revenue collection of the state by changing the people, process and adopt modern tax collection techniques provided by ICT. Expectedly, the revenue service increased monthly IGR from average of N1.2billion in 2015 to N3.5billion in 2016 and experienced another geometrically increment in 2017 to N5billion monthly. KIRS has vowed to explore all revenue lines of the state this year in its bid to increase monthly IGR to N10billion.

Furthermore, Kano State Government has mapped out strategies to diversify economy by investing in Agriculture, creating enabling environment for industrialization of the state, explore mining opportunities, harness economic potentials in tourism sector and over all introduce business friendly policies to attract local and foreign investors to the state.

In Agriculture, Ganduje’s led administration purchased 100 tractors, spent N100million on procurement of wheat seeds, provided hybrid rice seeds for farmers, facilitated billions of naira loans for thousands of commercial farmers in Kano State under CBN’ Anchor Borrowers Scheme. The state government also earmarked N1billion for procurement of storage facilities for agricultural produces to reduce wastage after harvest, thereby increasing income of farmers and ensure availability of such products all year round. Moreover, the government employed 729 extension workers to educate farmers on modern farming techniques while the agriculture friendly governor sponsored 60 youths to Turkey to learn Artificial insemination. The numerous intervention of Kano State Government under the watch of Governor Ganduje has resulted to bumper harvest that is happening in the state right now and Kano in the years to come will not only feeds Nigeria but would by contributing greatly to export of agricultural produces from the country and these will enable the government to earn more revenue.

On Industrialization, Kano State Government signed $600million deal with Shandong Ruyi Technology Group of China for establishment of Textile Industrial Park in Kano, this according to Governor Ganduje will turn the state to number one destination for investment in Nigeria and West Africa. The governor during his official visit to China in 2017 invited a leading manufacturer of mechanized farming equipment and components-Hunan Sunfeild Machinery to set up assembly plant for its products in Kano, to serve as outlet for Nigeria and West Africa. While the current administration is working with top players in mining across the world to explore the 24 natural resources including gold deposited in the state to increase revenue and create employment opportunities for the people.

Just last week, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje appointed Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the head of Investment Advisory Committee saddled with responsibility of advising the state government on how to attract investors as part of efforts to boost Kano’s economy. Terms of reference of the committee includes; Unlocking constraints that hinder the progress of the economic potentials of the state, facilitating inflow of foreign and domestic investments and working with the federal and state governments in addressing concerns that impede the economic progress of the state.

Another policy direction to build viable economy for Kano State is partnership and collaboration with federal government agencies and other states geared towards making the state to be self sufficient and strong economically. The Lagos-Kano Summit that will hold in Lagos soon was designed to give Lagos and Kano States the platform to create awareness on both state governments’ investment climate and policy thrust, create an avenue to dialogue with local and foreign investors and share investment ideas with target audience. Without mincing words, this kind of summit which is the first in Nigeria would at the long run attract investors to Kano from within and outside the country.

Unsurprisingly, Kano State has been reaping the rewards of policies introduced by a visionary, focused, sound minded, responsible and responsive leader-Dr Abdullahi Ganduje with the all round development going in the state. The state does not owe its 151,000 work force salaries despite the fall in global oil price/drop in monthly allocation from federal account. While the peoples’ governor is putting smile on the face of his people with implementation of impactful and life changing empowerment programmes.

Without doubt Kano State is on the path to greatness and economic prosperity with the ingenuity and prudent management of scarce resources of the state by Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje.

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