By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Administration 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).
Performing the inauguration, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu explained that the project was geared towards achieving Mr. President agenda of lifting 100 million youth out of poverty in the agricultural value chain.
Aliyu noted that by setting up the implementation committee, the FCTA has demonstrated its readiness in ensuring that the first zone was established in the nation’s capital to serve as a pilot scheme.
She 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
According to the Minister, 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.
She added that 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, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Muhammad Usman, assured 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.
He therefore plead with the administration to consolidate the titles for the grazing reserves, noting that boundaries of the grazing reserves are not clearly defined.