Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says a single local government in the state has more gold than the entirety of South Africa.
Speaking at the opening of the Kaduna economic and investment forum in the state on Wednesday, el-Rufai said solid minerals would attract as much as N40 billion.
“On solid minerals, you’ve seen the presentation, the minerals we have in Kaduna, but they missed out a very important mineral: gold,” he said.
“We’ve just confirmed that Kaduna state, indeed Birnin Gwari local government alone, has more gold than South Africa. This is proven, this is verifiable; we have all the data and we are collaborating with the federal ministry of solid mineral.”
He said the investment in mining gold would also focus on the local miners and help them improve and make money.
“To ensure that we bring international companies that would invest billions of naira in Birnin Gwari, to exploit our gold and export it, so that Kaduna state and Nigeria gets the benefits.
“But more than that, these companies, would also take the local miners, and formalise them and train them, so that they would all continue to make money.
“This is the model we are pursuing and we think about 40 billion would be attracted in solid minerals.”
INTEREST-FREE LOANS FOR FARMERS
The Kaduna state governor also said his team was leveraging on its agricultural prowess – as the state with the best ginger in the world – to provide interest free loans for farmers in the state.
“We have put in our budget, our intent to borrow N2.1 billion from the central bank for the rice anchor programme. The anchor borrowing programme enables the state government to access funds from the central bank at one percent interest.
“The state government has decided that our farmers would get these monies interest free. So we have put in the budget, the interest component of the anchor borrowing project. We pay the interest.
“We are also doing N5 billion naira for ginger production in Kaduna. We have putting N5 billion to triple ginger production, we have the best ginger in the world.”
12 BILLS IN 9 MONTHS, TSA IN RECORD TIME
El-Rufai applauded the state house of assembly for passing 12 bills in nine months, adding that the state implemented treasury single account (TSA) in less than two months.
“We also were the first state to introduce the treasury single account and here I must express my gratitude to the world bank, the IMF and the central bank, for giving us the technical assistance that made us implement the treasury single account in less than two months. It’s a world record.
“Essentially, we moved from 470 government accounts, to one account. 124 MDAs complied, and as at the 31st of August, we had nearly 25 billion in our TSA, which was a sort of record.”