By Our Special Correspondent
All is now set for the African Development Bank (AfDB) to commence the disbursement of $540 million to Oyo, Cross River, Kaduna, Imo, Kano, Kwara and Ogun states, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which are the first set of beneficiaries for the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs).
This was just as Vice President Kashim Shettima, called for immediate action, urging the government and its development partners to walk the talk.
As part of moves by the Nigerian government and the bank to ensure food security in the country, three states – Oyo, Kaduna and Cross River – are to benefit from phase one of the development of processing zones while others are to get theirs as soon as they are through with documentation. Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialization to the AfDB President, disclosed this recently, when a delegation of the bank and that of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) presented their separate reports on the status of projects being executed in Nigeria to Shettima at the State House, Abuja.
Speaking while making AfDB’s presentation to the Vice President, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said, “The SAPZ is an initiative of the AfDB aimed at turning the rural landscape into economic zones of prosperity and harnessing the power of commercial agriculture and food. The primary objective is to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in Nigeria. The phase one of the projects is at the point of disbursement. Kaduna, Oyo and Cross River States are all in the process of receiving disbursements and we hope for the other states, they can speed up with their documentation so that we can fast-track these states.
“We raised $540,000,000 in catalytic funding and we expect every state to find a partner that will bring equity and join up with them. It is a government-enabled project but private-sector driven.”
He further explained that the first phase of SAPZs was being implemented in seven states, namely Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).