BROADENING AND IMPROVING THE REVENUE BASE OF KOGI STATE
By Dr. Tom Ohikere
Kogi is a Confluence State where both River Niger and River Benue meet. It is also the only State among the 36 States in Nigeria that share border with ten other states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Kogi is a State richly endowed with natural resources that have remained untapped, a major reason that has been responsible for her socioeconomic stagnation and poor internal revenue generation. Kogi can boast of over 100 industries of the size of Dangote Cement in Obajana alone, and these will not only boost its IGR but provide jobs for the teeming youths if the economic potentials are fully explored.
The kernel of this write up is to unravel the economic potentials of Kogi State as we are all aware that our economy is facing challenges as reflected in the recent drop in the State’s IGR from 1.7 Billion Naira to 4.7 Million Naira as at March 2020, occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. It becomes imperative to look at the economic potentials of the State, articulate and project its diverse resources, and take advantage of them to boost the economy and improve the State’s IGR for socio-economic development.
The problems that are presently confronting our monolithic economy and the clarion call for economic diversification are a great advantage to Kogi state, and it is important for the government to expedite deliberate and conscious efforts to attract investors to take advantage of the potentials that abound in the State.
The fertile arable land that makes Kogi the largest producer of cashew, potential rice producer, and a respected fishing community among others present an opportunity for mechanised farming. If you are interested in farming, then you should consider starting your own mechanised farming in Kogi State. The truth is that, if you position your farm in Kogi State, you will have enough market for your farm produce because people from neighbouring States find it convenient and cheaper to transport their goods from Kogi State to their States as the State shares boundaries with ten other States in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.
The State is also a bed of some of the most prolific solid minerals including coal, limestone, iron ore and tin which makes it undoubtedly a veritable opportunity for Cement Merchants to invest. For example, the Obajana Cement Factory in Kogi state is home to the largest cement factory in West Africa. It is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. Although, cement merchants travel from far and wide to purchase cements, if you, however, live in Kogi state, you will have some sort of advantage over others. Proximity to the source of your goods gives less stress to business owners. So, if you are looking for a business to do in Kogi state, you can become a major distributor of cement for Obajana cement factory in Kogi State.
In fact, our geographical location, natural water bodies, variable vast and arable land, human capital solid minerals are great potentials. I refer to Kogi state as the solid mineral capital of Africa. There is the opportunity for more large-scale cement companies to get involved in mining in the state, the 13.5 million tons by Dangote alone will not solve the problem of our country. We need to focus more on small and medium scale enterprises. “If one company can explore 13.5 million tons, why can’t we break it down so that youths can also do one thousand tons of cement per annum? That would generate jobs for 1.3 million youths that would be entrepreneurs in the country. That should be the focus.
Dangote alone can not exhaust it all.
Currently, a large team of geologists from the ministry are scattered across the country, including in Kogi State, aiming to identify additional carbonate resources and preliminary reports already indicate that Kogi’s potentials in this regard may be bigger than previously known.
There are opportunities for Kogi State to partner with private sector players to exploit the vast value chain of mining in the state. Kogi state, in partnership with private sector entities can invest in beneficiation plants that encourage the expansion of mining activities within the state, thus creating jobs and economic opportunities for indigenes.
Itakpe in Kogi state has the largest deposits of Iron in West Africa and it is home to Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited – the largest Iron and Steel Industry in West Africa.
Hence Iron and Steel Merchant is another cool way to make cash in Kogi State. Ajaokuta in Kogi state is home to the largest Iron and Steel industry in West Africa hence it is easier to become an Iron and Steel merchant in Kogi state. Just ensure that you explore market within Nigeria and other African countries that would need you to supply them iron and steel.
Travels and Tourism Company, Tourism is another source of income for the government of Kogi state. Notable places where tourists visit are Lord Lugard’s House in Lokoja, the point where River Niger and River Benue meet, and Ogidi.
Although most tourists that visit Kogi state, come in through Abuja and they prefer to lodge in Abuja, but that doesn’t stop a business man or woman that is interested in the tourism business to establish his / her business in Kogi state. You can setup this type of business in Lokoja and then partner with other big travels and tours companies in Nigeria.
The state is also the undisputed gateway between the north and south. This state stands in a strategic position making it the only state that shares boundaries with ten other states including Abuja
Food Processing and Packaging Company.
This is yet another business an investor can setup in Kogi state. Although this type of business requires huge capital, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable venture to go into. So, if you are looking for a business to start in Kogi state, then you can consider starting your own food processing and packaging company. Be sure that you conduct your feasibility studies before you setup the company.
Kogi has all it takes to become an industrial destination for most national and international investors, all that is needed is for the state government to play the role of a kickstarter to facilitate investments by continuing to implant the act of good and selfless governance in the state create more enabling environment that will encourage new and young entrepreneurs.
Government should also provide the needed infrastructures and industrial areas with attractive laws as some of the pre conditions for industrial growth.
An economic round-table or summit should be organized by Kogi State Internal Revenue Service to prospect for the industrial take-off of the state. Potential investors, experts, financiers, NACCIMA, MAN, NASSI, the government, media and others must be coopted in the event. There must be a room for the exhibition of the economic potentials of the 21 local government areas in summit.