By Stanley Onyekwere
There is strong indication that the Abuja is set to get a Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, as a step towards reducing poverty especially among youth.
According to the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who dropped this hint, the FCT Administration will demonstrate its readiness in ensuring that the first zone is set up in the nation’s capital as a pilot scheme.
Ramatu assured that the Administration is committed to the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, as a step towards achieving Mr. President agenda of lifting 100 million youth out of poverty in the agricultural value chains.
To achieve this, the minister assured that provision will be made in the proposed year 2020 budget, adding that the FCT Administration will earmark up to 500 hectares of land to site the facility.
She spoke when a delegation of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), led by the Senior Special Advisor to the president of AfDB on industrialization, Prof. Banji Oyeyinka, paid her a visit in Abuja.
The Minister stated that the Administration will leverage on Federal Government Ease of Doing Business strides, the new network of roads and rails, and Abuja expanded world class airport, stressing that the FCT is traditionally strong in livestock, rice (cereals), horticulture, tubers, vegetables and varieties of economic trees.
“The FCTA is committed to the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone and we will demonstrate our readiness in ensuring that the first zone is set up here in our corridor.
“As the seat of power to the largest economy in Africa, the FCT-SAPZ will be a thing of pride to Mr. President.
“I look forward to briefing Mr. President soon that the FCTA is taking up the challenge to being the first to implement the SAPZ as a step towards achieving his agenda of lifting 100 million youth out of poverty,” she stressed.
Earlier, the leader of delegation, Prof. Banji Oyeyinka, lamented that Africa has huge production lag when compared to Asia countries, warning that if Africa fails to improve, the continent will remain at the level of subsistence farming.
Oyeyinka who noted that post harvest losses is extremely high in Africa, had called on FCT Administration for the establishment of the processing Zone that will create jobs for over 20, 000 youth.
He revealed that AfDB has identified six zones in Nigeria for the establishment of SAPZ, but not on geopolitical basis, just as he identified lack of political will by the previous administration as major setback for the takeoff of the project in Nigeria.