Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the launch of the Business Licensing Reforms; Murtala Square, Kaduna, 08 November 2016
I welcome you with utmost delight to this milestone event. Anyone who has been following the activities and policies of the Kaduna State Government cannot be in any doubt that it is government policy that business must succeed in this state. If we are to create the jobs that our teeming youths require and to foster the regeneration of our state, then we must fashion the conditions that will encourage private investments to thrive in our state. Job creation, the reduction of poverty and the boosting of human dignity and living standards are all goals that require the government to be smart in making choices, one of which is to recognise that it must partner the private sector.
Government can directly employ only a few persons. In fact, as ubiquitous as the machinery of government appears to be, those work for the state government constitute only about one per cent of the population of the state. Therefore, the opportunities to meaningfully employ and engage the vast majority of people of working age are to be provided by private enterprises and businesses, suitably encouraged by the policies and incentives of government. The State Development Plan is unambiguous in affirming the role that investments by the private sector will play in achieving the plan’s objectives.
That is the message we sent out at the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest) in April this year. That summit enabled us to demonstrate that Kaduna is open for business. Since then, we have been pursuing ways of improving the Ease of Doing Business in the state, driven by a committee led from the highest levels of the government. With our consolidated Tax Code law, and legislation to digitise the land registry, Kaduna State has shown that it has the policies and laws to support business investments. But on the ground, we need to keep optimising and simplifying our processes to make it easier to start and run businesses.
That is why we welcome today’s launch of the Business Licensing Reform (BLR) programme. Put simply, we are committing to continuous refinement of the process for obtaining business permits and to improve the quality of regulations that impact the private sector. Successfully implemented, we expect the BLR programme to strengthen our regulatory processes and to promote economic activities in the state. BLR will reduce the cost and time it takes to process licenses and permits and eliminate regulations that hinder businesses, impede competition or impose restraints to trade. This should encourage more private businesses to formalise, boost revenue generation in the state and propel economic growth in the state.
Let there be no doubt that the Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to realising the objectives of the BLR process. It is in the interests of our people that our state should attract and keep investors who will create, maintain and expand their business in our state. We want the return of manufacturing in our state and we look forward to the Kakuri industrial area regaining its vibrancy. We want trade, agriculture, construction, transportation and services to consider Kaduna State a place of dynamism and positive returns. Our people will be the ones to benefit from jobs and the better social services that can be enabled by improved revenue generation.
With optimism that we are embarked on the right path to move our people out of poverty, it is my pleasure to launch the BLR programme. It is our programme, and we shall make a success of it within our broad commitment to promote the Ease of Doing Business in Kaduna State. We are also orienting our MDAs to the imperatives of creating and sustaining a business-friendly environment, as part of systematic public service reforms.
I wish to thank our partners from the European Union, DFID and GEMS 3 for supporting Kaduna State in its quest to achieve inclusive growth and job creation through a dynamic private sector. Please be assured that we shall shoulder our responsibilities for the accomplishment of the programme objectives with clarity and commitment.
Thank you for listening.