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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid