Stimulating an economy sometimes requires pushing capital into the system by using methods that do not necessarily involve handing cash directly to citizens. This can be done in different ways, such as salary increments, infrastructural development, provision of loans to small scale businesses, upgrading of existing facilities to attract more patronage, provision of adequate security and so on. All these will indirectly lead to the injection of capital into the state economy and commercial activities will be stimulated. This is what the present government appears to be doing with its focus on infrastructural developments especially road construction and rehabilitations.
I particularly like the approach of the state government in terms of awarding of contracts. More indigenous contractors are now awarded contracts. This is very important for job creation and the state’s economy since each successful contractor hires support staff and other subcontractors locally which has led to an increase in commercial activities in project towns since the entire team have to buy food, drinks, and other items at the project location. If overnight stays are required hotel accommodations become necessary, bringing business to hotel operators in the area. In addition to this, the profits made from projects by such contractors are likely going to be spent within the state economy since contractors are indigenous.
As a business owner, I can feel the improvement in business activities. We used to have commercial activities increase in Ilorin at the end of each month because that’s when salaries are paid particularly to civil servants. But now, it is steady all through the month but still peaks when salaries are paid. This is a sign that the strategy of the government is yielding results. Investment in infrastructure and the use of indigenous contractors is what the American government is currently doing to stimulate its economy and create jobs. If the government continues in this path, it will sustain commercial activities, attract investors, increase job creation by the private sector and improve the quality of life of the people of Kwara state.
I must comment that it has been so difficult convincing investors to invest their money in Kwara State but for the first time after 10 years of trying to persuade potential investors to come, one finally agreed to build a pharmaceutical factory in Ilorin because of the government’s welcoming approach, increase in commercial activities and multiple infrastructural developments going on all over the state. It’s an encouraging business environment and a potentially vibrant future economy with lots of unexplored natural resources.
With more private sector investments, government concessions and public-private-partnerships, Kwara state can become one of the economic hubs in Nigeria in the nearest future.
By Dr.Abdulraheem Malik PharmD, MBA, Health & Pharmacy Economist.
Ilorin, Kwara state