By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja – The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) 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).
Mr Austen Elemue, the Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Aliyu said the project was geared towards achieving President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of lifting 100 million youth out of poverty in the agricultural value chain.
She said that the project would be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
She also clarify that by setting up the implementation committee, the FCTA had demonstrated its readiness in ensuring that the first zone was established in the nation’s capital to serve as a pilot scheme.
The state minister said that the journey leading to the inauguration of the committee had spanned months of intensive engagements with the AfDB; the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Others include, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Federal Ministry of Water Resources; Federal Ministry of Industry and others.
“The AfDB, being the funding bank for the SAPZ, has placed the FCTA 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,’’ Aliyu said.
Aliyu revealed that FCTA participated in various meetings and fora of the FG-AfDB that produced the communique submitted to President Buhari, to formally inaugurate the SAPZ in the country.
She added that in February, 2020, a pre-inception workshop produced an aide memoire that highlighted clear responsibilities for the administration against timelines.
“This committee is being inaugurated 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 will be assigned to work with us to carry out these tasks when the procurement processes are concluded”, she said.
The minister listed the terms of reference for the committee to 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.
Aliyu also said that the committee would be expected to work with selected consulting firm and consortium from the FMARD and AfDB as well as co-opt resourceful members of the public, especially representatives of the host communities, for a productive outcome.
She said the committee was expected to be guided by the SAPZ and NLTP guidelines and road maps, 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 realise the objectives of the projects.
Responding, Prof. Muhammad Usman, Chairman of the committee who assured that the committee would deliver on its assignment, noted that community engagement was important component of the committee’s function.
Usman, who is the Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister of State on Administration and Strategy, identified engagements with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as cardinal in the discharge of their duties.
He appealed to the FCT administration to consolidate the titles for the grazing reserves, noting that boundaries of the grazing reserves are not clearly defined.