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…Assures Safety, Conducive Environment for Local, Foreign Investors, says ‘Gombe is Open for Business’
… ‘Gombe’s Top Spot in Ease of Doing Business A Result of Inuwa’s Innovations, Determination’, Says Presidency
With huge optimism and a firm belief in the vast economic potentials of Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, scores another first, as he flags off the maiden Gombe Investment Summit tagged GoInvest 2022.
At the opening ceremony of the three-day conference with participants from Nigeria and outside the country, Governor Inuwa Yahaya reeled out the huge potentials of Gombe even as he flaunted its credentials as the Best in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and the Safest and most peaceful State in North East.
The Governor observed that the place of Gombe in commerce, industry and tourism is well established, as throughout history, the State has continued to capture the imagination of traders, business caravans and enterprising wanderers from within and outside Nigeria.
“Our position is boosted by Gombe’s strategic location at the center of the north-east subregion and proximity to neighboring countries around the Lake Chad basin, enterprising and peace-loving population, unity in diversity, comparative advantage in agriculture, commerce, and abundance of natural resource like limestone, gypsum, uranium, coal, crude oil, kaolin, etc. Gombe also boast of great potentials in irrigation and hydropower generation through the Dadin Kowa, Balanga and Cham dams”.
“In the same vein, we also realized that in order to put our state on the path of sustainable progress and long-term prosperity, we must strategically invest in both human capital and infrastructural development”.
With the theme, “Industrialization: The Pathway to Innovation, Transformation and Development of Gombe” Governor Inuwa said, in addition to its numerous empowerment programs for SMEs, “we are partnering with local and international stakeholders to provide cheap and affordable financing for our entrepreneurs”.
He observes that human capital development will enable his administration to equip the teeming youths with the requisite skills, knowledge and expertise to succeed in the rapidly changing digital world.
“To this end, we are working to leverage on digital skills and opportunities to develop Gombe into a regional ICT hub in order to harness the creative energies of our youths. On the other hand, solid and resilient infrastructure is being put in place to serve as catalyst for industrialization and growth, unlock opportunities and deliver sustainable prosperity to the people. This is evident in our numerous interventions in the education and health sectors through the constructions and upgrade of schools and hospitals, construction of rural and urban roads under the Network 11-100 project, the Gombe Mega Motor Park project, the Gombe Regional Water Expansion Scheme, and most importantly, the Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park. The 1000-hectare mega industrial facility is strategically located along the linking point of transport and energy infrastructure. It is expected to help consolidate Gombe’s position as the industrial hub of the North East subregion”.
He noted that administration that businesses can only thrive in an environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, risk reduction, sound regulatory framework, and sustainable wealth creation.
“To this end, we undertook major reforms in order to create a favorable investment climate. As a first step, we revamped the Gombe Internal Revenue Service. Through the deployment of technology-driven and innovative solutions, we are able to transform it into a robust vehicle for revenue growth and optimization. We also revived the Gombe State Investment and Property Development Company Limited to serve as a one-stop shop for all investment-related issues in order to facilitate ease of doing business. In the same vein, in order to streamline and revolutionize land administration, we created the Gombe Geographic Information System (GOGIS) and provided it with the resources and authority to carry out its mandate effectively. It is the culmination of these efforts and reforms (as well as many others) that propelled us to number 1 position in terms of ease of doing business in Nigeria”.
“It is worthy of note that providing an enabling environment for businesses is more than just enacting business reforms. For them to make the desired impacts, such reforms must succeed in reducing the duration, cost and procedure of starting and operating a business. It is to this end that we developed and implemented policies and programs geared towards simplifying the registration of businesses, harmonizing taxation, improving the efficiency of local officials, stamping out corruption, maintaining security of lives and property, and building the capacity of judicial officers so as to improve the quality of the judicial system”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya remarked that his administration is also taking bold steps towards addressing the three major issues affecting business creation and growth which are security, access to finance, and electricity.
Inuwa Yahaya said since before taking over as Governor, he was mindful of the enormity of the tasks and challenges before hence his decision to mandate a team to carry out a NEEDS assessment study.
“The study, which covered all our 114 wards and over 420 communities, would later serve as the foundation for our 10-year development plan known as the Development Agenda for Gombe State (DEVAGOM). DEVAGOM which was built around 5 pillars of economic development, infrastructure, sustainable environment, governance and institutional capacity. All these pillars are fully aligned with the sustainable development goals as set out by the United Nations”.
On the issue of security, the Governor observed that the State has remained largely peaceful in spite of the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges bedeviling the North-east subregion.
“This administration has accorded great priority to security of lives and property. This has been recognized by the recent rating of Gombe as the safest state in the North-east by the Nigeria Security Tracker as well as the major security agencies. Let me further assure you that your investment and personnel are safe in Gombe. In addition to our numerous empowerment programs for SMEs, we are partnering with local and international stakeholders to provide cheap and affordable financing for our entrepreneurs. Our administration recognized the role of electricity as the backbone of industrial development. To this end, we are investing strongly in energy infrastructure in order to put Gombe on strong industrial foundation. In addition to the 40MW Dadin Kowa hydroelectric power plant, we are also working on a 250MW solar power plant in partnership with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, and another 100MW power plant under the Northern States Governors Forum renewable energy initiative. We are also partnering with UNIDO to harness the hydropower potentials of Balanga and Cham dams in order to power small agro-allied industrial clusters. With these initiatives, Gombe will lead the regional transition towards renewable energy, and achieve the required capacity to power its industrialization drive”.
He said with over 60% of the population between the age of 15 and 49, his administration is working to equip with relevant skills and expertise saying Gombe has the potential to meet its human resource needs.
“We have the largest deposits of gypsum and limestone in the country, abundant deposits of uranium, as well as other precious minerals. Gombe is also blessed with huge commercial deposits of coal, oil and gas while our agricultural produce like cotton, ground nut, rice etc, command great value due to their high quality. In addition, the presence of large dams in Dadin Kowa, Cham and Balanga make the state ideal for large scale irrigation and hydropower generation. Our enormous potential in animal husbandry has led to a partnership with the Federal Government towards the development of the Wawa-Zange Grazing Reserve in our twin approach to boost animal production and reduce communal clashes between farmers and herders. With all these comparative advantages, Gombe can be considered to be an investor’s heaven”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya observed that the achievements in last three and half years is the result of painstaking effort in planning and implementation, aided by God’s guidance and the support of the people.
“Today, Gombe is open for business. It is the destination of choice for investment in the north-east subregion. Not even the more than a decade-old Boko Haram insurgency or the covid-19 pandemic and its attendant global economic meltdown could slow our march towards progress. This is the leadership we promise. This is the Gombe State we are building, one that will serve as a model to the rest of the country and a source of pride to our future generations. Our march towards building a peaceful, prosperous and all-inclusive state must not be distracted. We cannot afford to fail or slow down”.
The Governor expressed satisfaction with the responses of investors and the business community revealing that hundreds of investors have expressed interest to operate from the industrial park, and many more areas within the State.
“In the course of this summit, we will sign memoranda of understanding with some leading local and international brands to further demonstrate the success of our efforts. I want to thank all investors and partners for your trust and confidence in us, and for taking the bold steps to tap into the amazing potentials abound in our state”
In an address to participants at the summit, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, extolled the administrative ingenuity of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and his cabinet for churning out realistic policies and plans that earned the State top spot in the ease of doing business in the country.
Dr Jumoke Oduwole revealed that based on a methodological home-grown base line survey conducted, Gombe State came top in infrastructure and transparency, security, electricity, transportation and Primary Health Care, accessibility to information via Investment promotion, regulatory environment as well as skills and development.
She said, Gombe earned the top spot, not because of geographical location or any other consideration, but by what is being done, strong leadership and cohesion in the managerial circle which brought positive results.
Earlier in an address of welcome, Gombe State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Steering committee of the Summit, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau said the summit was organized in order to showcase and highlight all the potentials and opportunities that abound to investors and convince them to come and do business in State.
He appealed to the Federal Government, Investors and all Stakeholders to “dip your buckets where you are” to ensure the success of this Summit, which is crucial for the progressive change in the lives of residents of Gombe, the North East Geopolitical Zone and the country at large.
The event was attended by both local and foreign investors, development partners, financial institutions, members of the business community among others.