The Nigerian Federal Capital Territory state Minister, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has expressed readiness in ensuring the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, (SAPZ) as a step towards creating job opportunities for youths in the country.
Aliyu stated this in Abuja 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.
To achieve this, the minister assured that provision would 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 further stated that the Administration would leverage on Federal Government Ease of Doing Business strides, the new network of roads and rails, and Abuja expanded world class airport.
She stressed that the FCT is traditionally strong in livestock, rice (cereals), horticulture, tubers, vegetables and varieties of economic trees.
According to her, “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 said.
The leader of delegation, Prof. Banji Oyeyinka, who lamented that Africa has huge production lag when compared to Asia countries, warned that if Africa fails to improve, the continent will remain at the level of subsistence farming.
Oyeyinka who noted that post harvest losses was extremely high in Africa, also called on FCT Administration for the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone that will create jobs for over 20, 000 youths.
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.