Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has described the Alape Staple Food Processing Zone project as the
“electrons to charge the economic batteries of the entire North Central and a part of South-West”.
This was made known by the Kogi State Commissioner of Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, in Abuja on Friday while fielding questions from reporters on the rationale behind the 100 million dollar loan for the project.
According to him, “the world economy revolves around borrowing,” saying the borrowing, in this case, is for a “productive purpose”
In his words, “our focus shouldn’t be about what is being borrowed alone, but most importantly on the intent and the terms involved. The Alape SCPZ project is an initiative that will liberate the North-Central and some parts of South-West from economic backwardness.
“It is our responsibility to educate the people on the purpose of the loan. Our people are right to ask questions because the government is only a representative of the larger interest of the people. The 100 million dollar loan is to be channelled into the massive SCPZ Project in Alape. Kogi State is grateful to be considered for such a massive investment in agriculture.
“The project will not only improve infrastructure such as power, roads and water in the area; but also create off-taker chains for cassava farmers across the entire North Central Zone. It will also add value to our agricultural products and lead the way to Nigeria’s drive towards clean energy through ethanol production. This will qualify our nation and state for benefits from the Carbon credit Fund.
“The multiplier effect is almost limitless from agriculture to engineering, commerce and industry. It is a clear statement from Nigeria that it is prepared for a post-oil era. Kogi is privileged to house this economic development initiative”.
Fanwo said a lot of stakeholders are involved in the deal; insisting that it won’t take any negative toll on the finances of the State.
“Governor Yahaya Bello has personally driven this process in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and other international bodies because it is in tandem with his commitment to food security, agro-economics, job creation and promoting a green world. He believes in clean energy as a panacea to a safe environment.
“The Alape SCPZ is expected to inject billions of dollar into the economy of Kogi State and employ over 1 million people directly and indirectly. Kogi is favoured due to its strategic location and comparative advantage.
“Our people should seize the opportunity to transform the economy of the state and the nation at large instead of nursing a misplaced fear on a loan that has been structured in a way that it won’t affect any of the parties involved.
“We are grateful to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as the NNPC who has indicated interest to invest in biofuel ethanol refinery within the Zone thereby turning Kogi state to the economic hub of the nation with the project,” he said.