A real estate development company, Brains and Hammers, has sealed a N167billion deal with the Kano State Government for the construction of the Kano Economic City expected to create about 500,000 jobs.
The Chief Executive Officer of Brains and Hammers, Umar Abdullahi, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
Abdullahi said prior to the commencement of the Governor Umar Ganduje government, previous administrations had considered building the KEC in view of the potentials for job creation and economic rejuvenation they promised, but did not succeed.
He said that various challenges continued to delay the project until last week when the Ganduje administration signed the deal with his firm for the construction of the long-awaited project.
The project, which is located along the Zaria-Maiduguri road, suffered setbacks in its execution and was subsequently abandoned in 2011, despite efforts to see to the success of the market.
Disclosing the terms of the pact, Abdullahi said Brains and Hammers would provide funds needed to execute the project, and then proceed with the development project on a Build Own Operate and Transfer arrangement.
Under this arrangement, the developer will own 25 per cent equity and will build the market and own it for 25 years before handing it over to the Kano State Government.
The terms also provide for the engagement of a qualified facility management company, which will ensure decent management of the KEC.
The project is expected to be delivered within 72 months with an additional 18 months moratorium during which over 500,000 jobs would be created during the life span of the project.
In order to enhance the chances of acquisition by all classes of people, a mortgage arrangement has been put in place.
It involves finance arrangements with some banks and other institutional investors, who have expressed interest in light industries.
The Kano Economic City is designed to complement other markets in the city without necessarily competing with them in order to realize the role of Kano State as the commercial nerve center of Northern Nigeria.
According to the firm’s managing director, the project would accommodate a world class training school for businessmen from Kano, who could avail themselves of such opportunities, instead of paying through their noses to obtain same abroad.
He added that other facilities include independent power plant, central sewage plant, fiber optic internet cable service and world class security services.
Abdullahi said that KEC would also accommodate a wholesale and retail market, adding that the supply chain would be taken into consideration in the design, which would have a multiplier effect and also complement other existing markets in the city while witnessing increase in economic activities.
He said that the decision of the company to work with the government of Kano state on the project was based on the obvious determination of the Ganduje administration to improve human and infrastructural development of the state.
Abdullahi promised that his company would deliver a world class facility that would complement the state’s role as a major commercial nerve center for the entire West African sub-region.
He described the KEC as a world class signature project for Brains and Hammers, adding that the proposal had shown great departure from the past and had raised hope that the state would soon have a befitting market.
A Finance expert, Abdulkadir Joseph, who spoke with our correspondent, commended Brains and Hammers for “breaking the monopoly in brand marketing” and for carving a niche for itself in the property market.
Joseph said, “Brains and Hammers has made it possible for the middle class to own standard properties over a given period of time. The company has been able to manage multiple projects simultaneously at the board level, trying to manage the growth with a long term vision.”