All is set for the African Development Bank (AfDB) to commence the disbursement of $540 million to the first phase of states in Nigeria for the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs).
This is just as Vice President Kashim Shettima called for immediate action, saying it is time for the government and its development partners to walk the talk.
As part of moves by the Nigerian government and the bank to ensure food security in the country, three states are to benefit from phase one of the development of processing zones, including Oyo, Kaduna and Cross River, while others are to get theirs as soon as they are through with documentation.
Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation to the AfDB President, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, disclosed this on Monday when a delegation of the bank and that of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) presented their separate reports on the status of projects being executed in Nigeria to Vice President Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the vice president, Stanley Nkwocha, making AfDB’s presentation to the Vice President, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said, “The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) is an initiative of the African Development Bank that is aimed at turning the rural landscape into economic zones of prosperity and harnessing the power of commercial agriculture and food.
“The primary objective is to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in Nigeria. The phase one of the project is at the point of disbursement. Kaduna, Oyo and Cross River States are all in the process of receiving disbursements and we hope for the other states, they can speed up with their documentation so that we can fast-track these states.
“We raised $540,000,000 in catalytic funding and we expect every state to find a partner that will bring equity and join up with them. It is a government-enabled project but private-sector driven.
The SSA to the AfDB President further explained that the first phase of SAPZs is being implemented in seven states, namely Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Ogun state found a partner for the project and decided not to take the loan. We are basically going to distribute the loan to the other states. The next thing is preparation for phase two with 27 states. The demand is enormous but we have to prioritise those who move fast.
“We have set up eligibility criteria for the states and to rank them. We expect them to have a feasibility report, environmental impact study and a commitment to counterpart funding,” Oyelaran-Oyeyinka added.