By Daniel Tyokua
The FCT Minister of State, 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), to be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
A statement issued by Austine Elemue, Special Assistant (Media) to the minister at the weekend, said the scheme was geared towards achieving President Muhammadu Buhari agenda of lifting 100 million youths out of poverty in the agricultural value chain.
The minister explained that setting up of the implementation committee has demonstrated FCT Administration’s readiness in ensuring that the first zone was established in the nation’s capital to serve as a pilot scheme.
According to the statement, 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.
The statement quoted her, saying: “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.
The minister said the terms of reference for the committee would include ensuring 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.
Also 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.
Responding on behalf of other members, chairman of the committee, Prof. Muhammad Usman, thanked the minister for the honour, he also assured her that the committee will deliver on its assignment.
Usman who is the Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister of State on Administration and Strategy, however, noted that community engagement is important component of the committee’s function, just as he also identified engagements with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as cardinal in the discharge of their duties.