Gombe Investment Summit: the road to the future of Agribusiness and Industrial Development in the North.

by Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi.

In an earlier piece titled ‘Inuwa Yahaya’s ensemble of human capital and infrastructural development in Gombe’, on the 7th of May, 2023; we highlighted how Gombe, for the second time running, was crowned the best state in ease of doing business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC. Gombe clinched the highest score at the time, based on empirical data from micro, small and medium scale enterprises, MSME, in the 2021 and 2023 subnational ease of doing business ranking. The award was presented to Gov. Inuwa Yahaya by former Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at The Presidential Villa on the 26th of April 2023 during the 5th PEBEC awards. The PEBEC looked at 6 main indicators namely infrastructure, secure and stable environment, transparency and accessibility of information, regulatory environment, skills and labor, and economic opportunity. Gombe came out brilliant in all these parameters. Lest we forget that Gombe is competing favorably with States that were created 20 to 30 hrs before the realisation of Gombe State. Arguably Gombe is the most peaceful state in the North East and there is little wonder why it is the haven for investors and provides the best business environment for both indigenous, national and international businessmen that are willing to tap into Gombe’s resources as a great savannah for Agribusiness and Industrial Development. 2022 was a great year for the progress of Agribusiness in the State, and that has propelled the State Government towards investing more resources, as well as encouraging FDI into the country, with Gombe as a final destination for ROI.

Gombe Investment Summit, the second of its kind, is scheduled to hold this November, with promises in the future of sustainable energy, Agribusiness, and economic diversification. The first summit showcased Gombe’s potential as an investment hub, attracting investors from different sectors of the economy. The 2022 summit attracted over 70 billion naira worth of investments into the State, enabling over 50,000 jobs for the populace. The summit also paved way for investments in carbon assets with the State planning on raising 30 billion naira from the Green bonds by the end of the year 2023. All these investments would amount to an uncomfortable business environment if there are infrastructural deficits in the State. And that is why the State Government has continually invested heavily in road construction, efficient transportation systems, healthcare and digital infrastructure. Water Supply is not left behind which is key to Agribusiness.

The 2023 summit is paying alot of attention to sustainable amd renewable energy sources which is in line with the State Government’s commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change. Gombe is endowed with the natural resources that can adequately support the drive for more sustainable power supply through solar and wind energy. This is beneficial to the nation at large as it enriches the country’s energy independence. Wind turbines and wind farms can be accommodated in Gombe’s vast lands which can generate the needed wind power that can be converted to electricity.

Gombe, with fertile lands and favorable climate can become a huge player in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector. And that is why Agribusiness is a major component in the cards of the State’s Investment Summit. An agrarian state with atleast 3.6 million population into farming, Gombe is the 2nd largest producer of wheat in the North-East with over 2,500 metric tonnes produced annually, cultivating 3,700 hectares of land. Flour produces would be thrilled by these revelations and I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate in keying into this sector. Gombe is also the third largest producer of Tomatoes in Northern Nigeria. This is in the range of over 890,000 metric tonnes produced every year, through both the wet and the dry seasons. Over 380,000 metric tonnes are lost post harvest and this should be music to processing firms who can establish factories in the state as raw materials abound in this rich savannah.

The most impressive edifice or piece of development to drive the Gombe Investment Summit is the ready; 1000 hectares Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park, which is convincingly the most monumental step towards the Industrialisation of the State. The Park is just 33kms away from the State capital which is to be powered by the 40 MW Dadin Kowa Hydropower plant just 30kms away from the park. The first phase of the park has already been completed. A 200 units housing estate is also being developed to house the staff of the companies that would be located in the Muhammadu Buhari Park. A water supply system with well structured reticulation systems is in place, with a capacity of almost 7 million litres which can cater for the water supply demands of the park. The park is segmented into three different sections for Heavy Industries, Medium Industries and Small Industries.

Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has shown his readiness and foresight in putting in place all the relevant infrastructure that will support the attraction of investors into Gombe. When an investor indicates readiness, he will find in Gombe, the most suitable and well prepared atmosphere, which will make his investments easier, cheaper and more timely. In place are structures ranging from housing to power, water to transportation, human capital to prepared raw materials, which he quite simply needs to convene and utilise. Gov. Yahaya is futuristic in his approach to good governance. In a year or two, Gombe would be boasting of the highest IGR not only in the North East, but in the entire Northern Hemisphere of the country. Inuwa Yahaya is driving sustainable development in Gombe and posterity will judge him right in the nearest future.

Tahir is Talban Bauchi.

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