The Nasarawa State Government has engaged stakeholders over the proposed Gudi Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), as part of activities lined up to actualize the state’s Gudi Industrial Hub Phase 1.
Managing Director/CEO of the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency, Ibrahim Abdullahi, in a welcome remark, Friday, said the interaction was to bring together all stakeholders relevant to the project, with a view to carrying them along.
The NASIDA MD said, the SAPZ is a project backed by the African Development Bank, aimed at encouraging states in Nigeria to develop specific zones that promotes agro-processing.
“There’s need for us to carry the community along so that they can have a picture of what is to come. There’s going to be some level of land acquisition as well and the community needs to understand the magnitude of the project.
“We want to move from the stage where people farm produce within our localities and are not able to set up a processing capability that adds value to these produces. That is one way we can achieve our goals of employment for our youths, increase IGR for the state and other development aspirations,” he stated.
Abdullahi explained that Nasarawa State was unable to make the first phase of the project, even though the state was selected as one of the key states to pilot the SAPZ project in the country.
He however said, considering the ripple economic effect from such a project, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule saw the need to forge ahead with the exercise.
“As a key requirement for developing this project, the state needed to commission the development of a feasibility study which will give us the technical, financial and legal consideration for setting up a special processing zone like this,” the NASIDA MD said.
“We have had initial meetings with different stakeholders like the Africa Import/Export Bank, Islamic Development Bank, even Africa Development Bank, on how to really take advantage of this project to build a center of excellence.
“As you know, Nasarawa State is in the middle of the country and Gudi is essentially the middle of Nasarawa State. Gudi has also advantage of the national rail, so there is linkage. Any community, society that really must develop needs to look at the auxiliary infrastructure around it that it will take advantage of. We are here to maximize the opportunity that we have in Gudi,” he added.
Abdul Oladepo, representative of the African PPP Advisory Services, the consultant hired to conduct a feasibility study on the SAPZ, said they are working based on available evidence that will translate into transforming Nasarawa State.
Recall that Nasarawa State Government, through NASIDA, on June 30, 2021, signed a service contract agreement with the African PPP Advisory Services, based on the recommendation of the Africa Development Bank.
According to Oladepo, the firm has been working in the state for the past one year, collecting data, including extensive surveys in six different communities identified as higher agricultural potential.
“We started about a year and we have collaborated with stakeholders. We started with an inception meeting, as well as several meetings with different stakeholders at different point in time regarding the ideas of how this project should be developed and also collecting data, including undertaking extensive surveys at the six different communities identified as higher agricultural potential.
“We have also visited the proposed site in Gudi. We really want to work together, to ensure. We actually do the groundwork to ensure the work we are doing is evidence based and it will translate to transforming the state,” he stated.
The Special Agro-Processing Zone, covering an area 50-250 hectares, is a demarcated area of land were industrial processors are clustered housing factories, administrative facilities, with infrastructure to include road network, power, waste/water treatment plant, green and landscape area.
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