Gombe State has the potential to grow as an industrial centre in the north-east of Nigeria, thanks to expanding commercial and industrial infrastructure, a skilled youth population and a high placement in the country’s ease of doing business index. It is home to thousands of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, and recent allocations from the state budget are expected to help develop industry and manufacturing activities.

Several bodies oversee the sector, including the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism; the Gombe State Investment Promotion Agency; as well as the Gombe State Enterprise Development and Promotion Agency. They are responsible for attracting investment, promoting manufacturing activities, and providing training to boost local entrepreneurial skills and encourage the development of new businesses.

Light Manufacturing & Services

One of the main manufacturing sites in Gombe State is the Ashaka Cement factory, which is a subsidiary of Lafarge Africa. The firm is also responsible for mining the state’s reservoirs of solid minerals, including gypsum, limestone and coal. However, much of these minerals remain untapped due to limited investment.

The development of the 1000-ha Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in the Yamaltu Deba local government area (LGA) is expected to transform Gombe State into a regional industrial centre. Under construction since 2021, the park is located close to the Dadin Kowa dam and hydroelectric plant, which will provide it with power. With phase one projected to cost N17bn ($40.5m), the park features 10 mega-factories and is expected to create 10,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs upon completion. The government hopes to attract manufacturing, processing and service companies of varying sizes to the site, as well as boost interest in the state’s abundant supply of raw materials for manufacturing, processing and agro-industry.

Infrastructure

The development of the new industrial park will be supported by large public investments in the state’s transport infrastructure. The construction of a new road network is expected to enhance the connectivity between farms, rural communities, and commercial and industrial centres. As of 2019 Gombe State had approximately 1600 km of roads, which were mainly concentrated in urban areas. The state government hopes to build at least 100 km of access roads in each of the 11 LGAs linking rural and urban regions, with a focus on connecting farmers with produce markets, as well as enabling the transport of inputs to farms across the state.

Processing & Export

Agriculture is one of Gombe State’s main economic activities, with the potential to add value by connecting farmers with industrial companies and commercial markets. The export potential of agricultural products – including tomatoes, beans, grains and feeds, soya beans, sesame seeds, cotton, livestock and horticultural products – is significant but largely untapped. A planned groundnut oil processing facility and rice mill at the new industrial park will foster added value to enhance the sector’s export potential.

In October 2021 the state government partnered with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to hold a two-day training course for agricultural commodity traders. The state government highlighted the federal government’s Export Support Fund as a potential source of funding for small business owners looking to add value to agricultural products.

Several challenges persist in the industry sector, many of which the government hopes will be addressed by the construction of the industrial park. Inadequate power supply and critical infrastructure hamper development across the state. In addition, there is insufficient funding, a lack of private investor participation, few research institutions supporting industrial development, and an underdeveloped regulatory and tax system. By strengthening its policies to attract companies to the sector, the government is working to guarantee that the new industrial park can meet its full potential.