President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday described state governments as key allies for successful businesses in the country.
Buhari made the statement at the opening of the 40th Kaduna International Trade Fair, organised by the Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA).
Reports have it that the fair had the theme, “Consolidating Interface Between Industry and Agriculture for Nigeria’s Sustainable Development”.
Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelama, said that the commitment of state governments was required for businesses to stay on course.
“For instance, we rely on state governments to provide access to land, act as mediators in conflict prevention and resolution, link local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the supply chains of processing companies.
“States also provide the needed infrastructure to link farms to processing plants and markets, and above all, provide a conducive environment for businesses and their host communities to thrive.
“I am glad to say that we have such a partner in the Kaduna State Government,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to engage KADCCIMA and the organised private sector to catalyse investment and improve the ease of doing business.
According to him, agriculture contributes 25.5 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP and almost 50 per cent of its labour force.
“But we continue to face the challenge of meeting domestic food requirements, providing raw materials for the manufacturing sector and export.
“Therefore, creating a strong linkage between agriculture and industry is a sure way of bringing about sustainable growth by creating new jobs, improving value addition.
“The move will also create wealth for farming communities, improve manufacturing output and enable roll-out of infrastructure around farming communities which will industrialise our country in the long run,” he said.
Earlier, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, reiterated the state government’s commitment to building a business-friendly environment.
El-Rufai, who was represented by Dr Hadiza Balarabe, the state Deputy Governor-elect, congratulated KADCCIMA for 40 years of organising the private sector in the state to contribute to national development.
He said that the state would continue to build the needed human capital by equipping teeming youths in the state with skills for entrepreneurship development.
The President of KADCCIMA, Hajiya Muheeba Dankaka, said that the theme of the fair was chosen to support government efforts toward boosting the nation’s economy through the promotion of the non-oil sector.
Dankaka described the 40th edition of the fair as unique, considering KADCIMA’s 40 years of contribution to the development of Kaduna State and the country.
She thanked the Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government for promoting the growth of the private sector in the state through various business-friendly policies.
Also speaking, Mr Iyalode Lawson, National President, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), congratulated KADCIMA for its 40th anniversary.
Lawson, who was represented by NACCIMA’s First Deputy Vice President, Mrs Saratu Aliyu, called on the federal and state governments to strengthen power supply and boost access to roads and capital.