Governor Hope Uzodimma has pledged the commitment of Imo State to the highest standards in infrastructure and management that would be required to attract global, regional and national investors for the successful delivery of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme.
Imo was one of the States chosen for the African Development Bank (AfDB) – sponsored SAPZ Programme in collaboration with other development banks and the federal government, as a veritable strategy in the transformation of the Nigerian agriculture sector, through industrialization.
Other States include: Kaduna, Ogun and Oyo.
Senator Uzodimma as the focal Governor for the programme reaffirmed Imo State’s commitment to the scheme in his remarks on Tuesday in Cote d’ Iviore during a meeting with the President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and his team as well as representatives of the development partners and the federal government.
During the meeting hosted by Dr. Akinwunmi, Governor Uzodimma and his brother governors – Nasir el- Rufai (Kaduna), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo), reaffirmed their unalloyed commitment to a government-enabled, private sector-driven SAPZ implementation model, as agreed by all parties.
Also in attendance at the high level interface were: Prof. Doyin Salami, the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Uche Orji, Managing Director the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Mr. Farouk Mohammed Gumel, NSIA Chairman.
The audience from the African Development Bank Group included: The President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Senior Vice President, B. S. Tshabalala; Beth Dunford; Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Solomon Quaynor; Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and industrialization, Dr. Victor Oladokun, Senior Adviser to the President on Communications, Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement, and several others.
Imo State was selected as one of the four pilot states that will kick start the Special Agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria.
Consequently, Senator Uzodinma emerged the focal governor of the programme ahead of its official launch on February, this year in Abuja.
The SAPZ is a government enabled, private sector driven action plan aimed at quickening the transformation of the Nigerian agricultural sector through industrialization.
The African Development Bank and consortium of international organizations are driving the implementation of the programme.
Governor Uzodinma and his colleagues Tuesday in Cote d’Ivoire met with the Dr Adesina and heads of the other organizations for the signing of agreements for the take-off of the programme four weeks time.
Speaking on the occasion, Senator Uzodinma as the focal governor pledged on behalf of his colleagues to ensure that the programme succeeds.
“As the focal governor of SAPZ,I have dedicated the full instrumentality of my office to the provision of enabling environment for the kick off of the programme”, he affirmed.
Uzodinma said he desires that the programme becomes a veritable strategy that will enhance agriculture and industrialization in Nigeria.
He urged both the institutions and states selected for the first phase of the programme to work in concert to attract global, regional and national investors to fully populate the zones.
All parties in attendance reaffirmed their strong commitment to the shared goal of a stable and prosperous Nigeria and underscored the need for a speedy, successful delivery of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme.
The Governors in particular reaffirmed their unalloyed commitment to a government-enabled, private sector-driven SAPZ implementation model, as agreed by all the stakeholders.
The meeting recognized the role of the NSIA as critical to an effective private sector engagement and overall efficient implementation off the SAPZ Programme, hence the Nigerian Government representatives signed a letter of intent re-affirming the NSIA’s role in procuring Transaction Advisers; Design Consultants; Zone Construction Companies and Facility Management Service Providers, all geared towards ensuring an efficient, speedy, transparent and open process.
In fact, all parties were united in expressing the expectation that the Zones’ infrastructure and management will be of the highest standards capable of attracting global, regional and national investors (Anchor and other tenants) to fully populate the zones.
Meanwhile, all stakeholders at the meeting, look forward to the official launch of the Nigerian SAPZ Programme in Abuja, February ending to be chaired by President Buhari.
Ministers of leading implementation Ministries of the SAPZ Programme and the Governors of the States included in the Programme’s first phase will also be in attendance.
President of the AfDB, as well as President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and representatives of the development communities and key investors will also attend the February event in Abuja.