AfDB fund: Oyo, Kaduna, Cross River to share $540m

Oyo, Cross River and Kaduna states are to get their shares of the $540 million packaged by the African Development Bank (AfDB) for development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria.

The three states are in the first phase of beneficiaries of the project. The stage is set for the disbursement of the fund, it was learnt yesterday.

Following the hint, Vice President Kashim Shettima called for immediate action. He said the time has come for the government and its development partners to act.

These were contained in a statement issued by Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant to the President attached to the Vice President’s Office on Media and Publicity.

Other states are to get their own shares of the funds as part of moves by the Federal Government and the AfDB to ensure food security in the country.

Speaking after representatives of the AfDB and that of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) presented their separate reports on the status of projects being executed in Nigeria to him, Shettima called for immediate action.

According him, all hands must be on deck to ensure the delivery of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s visions to Nigerians.

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The vice president said: “We have passed the age of talking; we have to walk the talk. We can talk from now till eternity and it does not mean anything if there is no action and hence we must make this work. We just must.

“We have not seen beyond the depth of our pockets; what comes to us is more important than what comes to the generality of the people. Things must change.

“I read a book on how Korea transformed itself with no natural resources, how they started producing steel against all odds, how they went into shipbuilding; and how Hyundai, Daewoo, Samsung, Kia came about. I believe that when there is a will there is always a way. We have to walk the talk.”

Making AfDB’s presentation to Shettima, Prof Banji 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 of Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He added: “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.”

In another report on the visit to the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, inaugurated earlier by the vice president, the Head of Investment and Technology Promotion Office at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Mrs. Abimbola Olufore Wycliffe, said the recovery plan for the company would include revitalizing through rehabilitation, modernisation and expansion.

She said: “Single-phase turnaround for the entire plant is challenging due to heavy investments and a prolonged revenue generation timeline. Convert the integrated steel plant into Strategic Business Units (SBUs) to serve as profit centers.

“Conduct opportunity studies for each SBU, focusing on incremental investments, raw material availability, labor, utilities, and market demand. Prioritize SBUs with lower investments and quicker positive cash flows (the low-hanging fruits).”

She called for the reinvestment of profits from each SBU in ASC to reduce the burden of incremental investment on the local economy.

The UNIDO chief recommended the enhancement of foreign exchange earnings and contribution to local economy development.

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