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May 27, 2024

SAPZ: AfDB, FG to Partner Enugu Govt on Investment, Infrastructure

The African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Finance, has expressed its readiness to partner with the Enugu State Government in areas of investment, infrastructure, and to establish Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ)to enhance development in the state. 

This is in line with the commitment made by Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, to establish SAPZ in each of the three senatorial zones in the state for the purpose of enhancing commercial agriculture and food production, to transform rural areas into economic zones.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy,  Mr Wale Edun, represented by Akande Oyetola of the African Financial Institutions who led a team to Enugu State described their visit to the proposed 1000 hectare site chosen for the project as a way to to assess the state government’s readiness for the project.

He said: “We are here to improve the livelihood of the farmers, create investment for them, and improve their incentives as they engage in their farming activities. Our mission here is to see what Enugu State has in place to propel the bank to disburse funds for this project.”

The minister expressed satisfaction with the state’s preparedness for the SAPZ project, noting that Enugu had allocated over 1,000 hectares of land for the project and constructed access roads to the farmland. 

“I must say that I am satisfied with what I have seen because the state has provided over a thousand hectares of land which is one of the criteria a state must have to enable it to participate in this programme,” he stated.

“It is one thing to be envisaging participation in a programme and another thing to have the requisite infrastructure. So, the infrastructure we are seeing now is satisfactory to us.”

In his remarks, the traditional ruler of Owo Community in Nkanu East Local Government Area, Igwe Okeke Arum, said that the community is willing to support the project, noting that they are ready to donate additional land if necessary. He emphasized the potential benefits of the project for the country as a whole.

“We gave this land to the government with our hearts. This is over 1000 hectares, and we are ready to give more. We welcome this development because we know that it will not only help our community but also the state and Nigeria at large. The community is ready, and we are supporting this development that is coming because the benefit is enormous,” he said.

Engr. Patrick Ubru, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialisation, explained that this move was in line with the Governor’s goal to bring an end to hunger in the state. 

He said: “We are very much ready for this project. As you can see, the governor is already constructing a 40km dual carriageway from Owo-Ubahu-Amankanu-Neke-Ikem-Obollo, linking Enugu State to the North Central. He has equally done the access road to over 1000 hectares of land.”

“We have equally gone ahead to do environmental impact analysis and feasibility studies, which we are going to amend in line with the recommendations of the federal government before their next visit. 

“The community, too, is welcoming the development with two hands and promising to donate more land when the need arises,” he added.

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