News / Africa

Business Activity Slows in Northern Nigeria

Police check point near Government House in Kano, Nigeria (Isiyaku Ahmed/VOA)Police check point near Government House in Kano, Nigeria (Isiyaku Ahmed/VOA)
x
Police check point near Government House in Kano, Nigeria (Isiyaku Ahmed/VOA)
Police check point near Government House in Kano, Nigeria (Isiyaku Ahmed/VOA)
Isiyaku Ahmed
In northern Nigeria, business activity has slowed, largely due to insecurity.  The 2011 World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that the Nigerian economy has lost over six billion dollars [N1.3trillion] as a result of attacks by the Islamic radical group Boko Haram.
 
The Center for Research and Documentation in the northern city of Kano attributes the threat to a drop in earnings for nearly all businesses in Kano State.
 
Today, a new program is looking for solutions to the challenges facing state businesses.  It’s called ENABLE, or Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business Environment. The project is a collaborative effort between the Kano-based center and the UK’s Department for International Development
 
The program encourages and facilitates communication between the private sector and government ministries. And, it helps provide access to legal, policy and regulatory information to stimulate an informed dialogue. 
 
Umar Ibrahim Yakubu is the executive director of the center, which is located along Sokoto road in the government reserved area of the northern Nigerian town.
 
As for the state's business environment, he said, "We discovered that 97% of businesses were negatively affected by the security problem. Some of them had to close down, some of them had to retrench some of their workers, and some of them had to cut down in the number of hours of operation." 

Yakubu said the research covers businesses across various sectors including manufacturing, commerce, hospitality, and crafts and trade.  The study's findings were disseminated in a seminar to stakeholders, the private sector and the government. It aims to solicit their input and devise ways of addressing the challenges.
 
"An agreement was reached," he said, "that the government will work closely with business organizations to see how these problems will be resolved to bring back business [and trade] to Kano state."

Some businessmen support the police presence, including 55-year-old trader Alhaji Kabiru Isa Mai Sabulu.  He sells sugar, beverages, rice, spaghetti and other imports mostly from Asia.

Sabulua defends the police presence, saying it helps protect businesses, travelers and the public.  In his opinion,  insecurity can not stop trade and commerce in Kano. Even with the heavy security check points, he said people continue to come to Kano from different parts of Nigeria and neighboring countries for various business transactions.

Alhaji Ali Madugu is Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Managing Director of Dala Foods -- producers of a variety of tea and beverages in Kano.
 
He said businessmen should learn to keep their businesses moving despite the security challenge, but called on authorities to relax the tough stop and search measures at check points.
 
"All the shops and businesses close to [near] police formations were closed down," said Maduguru. "Since January 2012 up untill today, nothing is operating there."
 
He said business will return if police stations around markets and commercial areas are closed or moved. He suggested that the police should go back to their old locations so business activity could improve.
 
The study notes that security is not the only problem affecting Kano’s business owners.
 
It found that the area is also affectd by an erratic power supply as well as a lack of credit and inconsistent government policies.
 
Ahmed Rabiu, the president of the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture said the situation " is being compounded by the continuing  inadequacy in the infrastructure requirements for power, water, access roads, rail services, airport services and even telephone access....Hardly anyone is happy."
 
The Kano official said there are many other issues at play as well.  They include unfavorable exchange rates for investors, high interest rates that make it hard to get loans, the banks’ inability to offer financial assistance, the failure of non-bank financial institutions to support development of industry and commerce, and lack of support by government to encourage business activity.
 
Rabiu suggested one one way to revive the economy is to implement Vision 20:2020, Nigeria’s long term development plan designed to propel the country into the world’s top 20 economies by the end of the decade.
 
One of the plan’s goals is to promote an efficient and globally competitive, private sector that will facilitate the growth of businesses and investments.

Listen to report on the economy in Kano State, Nigeria (by I. Ahmed)
Listen to report on the economy in Kano State, Nigeria (by I. Ahmed)i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid