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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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