Fred Itua, Abuja
Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has inaugurated a 44-member implementation committee to drive the process for the establishment of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) and the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP).
The programmes are being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The Minister, during the inauguration ceremony, explained that the project was geared towards achieving Mr. President agenda of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in through agricultural value chain.
She stressed that by setting up the implementation committee, the FCT Administration has demonstrated its readiness in ensuring that the first zone was established in the nation’s capital to serve as a pilot scheme.
Aliyu further explained that the journey so far leading to this inauguration has spanned months of intensive engagements with the AfDB, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and other strategic agencies of government and the organised private sector.
According to her, “The AfDB, being the funding bank for the SAPZ, has placed the Federal Capital Territory Administration on a strong rating from our engagements, since inception. We have thus been approved to promote and host a livestock and dairy – dedicated SAPZ in the territory, for large scale beef and dairy productions across the full value chain.”
She revealed that the FCTA participated in the various meetings and fora of the FG-AfDB that produced the communique submitted to Mr. President, to formally inaugurate the SAPZ in Nigeria, adding that in February, a pre-inception workshop produced an aide memoire that highlighted clear responsibilities for the administration against timelines.
“This committee is being inaugurated today to take up the responsibility of ensuring that these strict timelines are met. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has advertised the Expression of Interest to shortlist qualified Consulting Firms for the SAPZ Project Documents preparation including studies, surveys and designs. One of the firms would be assigned to work with us to carry out these tasks when the procurement processes are concluded.”
The Minister said the terms of reference for the committee shall include to ensure that the technical, administrative, operational, investments, capital and socio-economic issues, for a sustainable SAPZ and NLTP, are identified and resolved for the delivery of the projects for the FCTA.
“The committee would be expected to work with the selected consulting firm/consortium from the FMARD/AfDB and may also co-opt resourceful members of the public, especially representatives of the host communities, for a productive outcome; and the committee is expected to be guided by the SAPZ/NLTP guidelines and roadmaps, and engage with any of the relevant agencies, in addition to development partners, the organized private sector and identified foreign investors, funders, and financiers to realize the objectives of the projects.”