Governor Umar Namadi of Jigawa State was in Nigeria’s commercial capital in January and early February 2024 for critical state business. He was a guest of the Nigerian Exchange, where he rang the closing bell for trading on 31 January. On 1 February, he brought his team to the African Trade and Investment Summit by Businessday.
Namadi’s itinerary speaks to his focus as governor of this small state in the far north of Nigeria: improving the chances and ratings of Jigawa State and enabling it to prosper.
That Namadi is focused on making Jigawa one of Nigeria’s well-run and prosperous states is not a chance assertion. The records and recognitions testify.
Jigawa State has garnered recognition for outstanding performance in accountability and transparency.
Jigawa State earned the top spot in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Accountability Index for 2020 and 2021, highlighting its commitment to financial transparency. With a renowned bookkeeper in charge, Jigawa State keeps good records and audit books.
Watchdog BudgIT Foundation ranked Jigawa State first in the States Fiscal Transparency League for Quarter 1 2023 for transparency, accountability, and sustainability. It is an indicator of sound public resource management.
Jigawa State earned the nod of the Federal Government State’s Competitiveness Team as the second easiest state to do business, secured the first spot in the Budget Transparency Index 2022 and topped the ICAN Accountability Index 2020/2021.
Even on this score, there are challenges and areas for improvement. Although the state’s 2022 budget achieved 87 per cent revenue collection, expenditure fell short at 72 per cent, indicating potential implementation gaps. The Citizens’ Accountability Report highlighted a need for improvement in specific sectors like capital expenditure.
Moreover, experts say increased public-private partnerships will accelerate development and improve service delivery in the state. It may also need further steps towards open data publication and citizen-friendly dashboards to enhance transparency.
Namadi’s message at the Africa Trade and Investment Summit was a clarion call to local and foreign entrepreneurs: invest in Jigawa. His pitch is solid and sensible.
“With vast arable land, agriculture is one of our priority sectors. We are the number one producer of dates in Nigeria and the largest exporter of hibiscus. The state also boasts of being one of the largest producers of gum, Arabic, and rice, the second largest producer of sesame, and among Nigeria’s ten largest crop-producing states. Apart from agriculture, Jigawa State has numerous untapped solid mineral resources, whose potentials we encourage investors to harness for value addition and export. There are numerous opportunities in the renewable energy sector, especially solar energy.”
Namadi avers that Jigawa State’s focus is industrialisation. Industrialisation will bring employment, income generation, improved internally generated revenue, development, and prosperity. Temptations to doubt Namadi’s claim that “Jigawa State has the best road infrastructure in the country” must be tempered by a look at the results his state has posted in transparency and accountability.
Jigawa State has a land area of 24 742 square kilometres, of which 19,000 square kilometres is arable land. It has a population of 6.5m. Major cities include Dutse, the capital, Hadejia, Gumel, Ringim, Kazaure, and Maigatari.
Like most state governments, the Jigawa State Investment Promotion Agency claims a One-Stop Shop status to serve as an investment resource centre, coordinating centre for investment promotion, liaison between investors and MDAs and a repository of information on investment opportunities.
Furera Isma Jumare is the Director-General of Invest Jigawa, the one-stop agency. The state claims other things are in place. They include free business support services by the agency and the Jigawa State Ministry of Commerce, Jigawa State Investment and Properties, and the Jigawa State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Why should investors consider Jigawa State? The state flaunts agriculture and the opportunities for value-addition, trade, crop production, and livestock.
Factors include enabling a conducive business environment, enormous and diverse natural resources, and supporting infrastructure.
Jigawa State promises free industrial plots to investors who meet specific criteria. It hosts the Maigatari Export Processing Zone. The largest livestock market in West Africa, Maigatari town, historically served as a trans-shipment point along the ancient Trans-Saharan trade route.