As part of its drive to attract and retain private sector investments, Kaduna State has launched a Business Licensing Reform programme. The BLR programme is designed to boost the economy of the state by reducing the time and cost investors incur to secure business permits and to ensure that legislations and regulations promote competition and a conducive business climate.

Business Licensing Reforms (BLR) is an European Union-funded intervention aimed at complementing on-going support to improve the business and investment environment in Kaduna State. It aims to streamline and improve the existing processes for business licenses and permits. The BLR programme is designed to foster job creation and income generation by migrating between 100,000-400,000 enterprises into the formal sector, promote inclusive economic growth, reinvigorate labour-intensive manufacturing, and facilitate private sector participation in economic development. It is being implemented in partnership with the Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) and the state government’s Ease of Doing Business Committee.

Launching the programme in Kaduna today, Architect Barnabas Yusuf Bala, Deputy-Governor of the state, said that Kaduna State is committed to realizing the objectives of the BLR programme as part of its broader campaign to improve the ease of doing business in the state. The Deputy Governor explained that the state’s hopes for job creation and improved internal revenue generation rest on how well it attracts and retains private investments.

“Government can directly employ only a few persons. In fact, as ubiquitous as the machinery of government appears to be, those who work for the state government constitute only about one per cent of the population of the state,” Architect Bala stated.

“Therefore, the opportunities to meaningfully employ and engage the vast majority of people of working age are to be provided by private enterprises and businesses, suitably encouraged by the policies and incentives of government.”

The Deputy-Governor gave assurances to the audience that included representatives of the EU, DFID, business owners and the press that the government is determined to succeed with the BLR programme. “Let there be no doubt that the Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to realising the objectives of the BLR process. It is in the interests of our people that our state should attract and keep investors who will create, maintain and expand their business in our state. We want the return of manufacturing in our state and we look forward to the Kakuri Industrial Area regaining its vibrancy.”

The EU Representative Juan Ortega gave reasons for partnering with the Kaduna State Government on the business licensing reforms. He said “Kaduna understands very well that economic development and wealth creation is mainly driven by the private sector. Kaduna State is taking substantial steps in reforming its economy, such as the establishment of the N1.5tr Kaduna State Economic and Investment Development Plan.”

Ortega added that ”Kaduna State is one of the most dynamic states in the country and is well positioned geographically along the major trade corridors in Nigeria”.

In her remarks, the National Team Leader of GEMS 3, Ana Vinambres, stated that “ GEMS3 commenced the Business Licensing Reform in Kaduna State in May 2016, with the overall objective to improve the business and investment environment through the improvement and implementation of regulatory frameworks and process for business registration.”

The Business Licensing Reforms will focus on four focal sectors of the economy; wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing (food and drugs), building construction and transportation. The reforms will be carried out by a team of national and expatriate advisors as well as legal and tax experts.