NIGERIAN Governors Forum (NGF) chairman Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has revealed that they are hoping to attract between $1bn and $4bn in foreign investment through a radical farming programme involving the establishment of special agro-processing zones (SAPZs).
With Nigeria’s economy more or less wholly dependent on crude oil, the government is desperately looking at economic diversification and agriculture is one of the key areas getting attention. At its recent meeting in Abuja, the NGF is looking to establish SAPZ’s across the nation’s six geo-political zones in a bid to get commercial farming going.
Speaking after the forum’s meeting in Abuja yesterday, Governor Fayemi said that all states were potential beneficiaries of the SAPZs initiative, which would bring together the farming and the processing community. He added that the governors already agreed with the African Development Bank (AfDB) that a desk for the initiative would be at the NGF secretariat to coordinate interest expressed from various states.
Governor Fayemi said: “The forum was briefed by its deputy chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state on the meeting with the AfDB. Officials came in company of existing and potential Chinese investors in Nigeria.
“The meeting was part of a series of high-level engagements driven by the AfDB to promote the establishment of SAPZs in Nigeria. These SAPZs which will bring together the farming and the processing community have the potential of attracting about $1bn from the AfDB and up to $4bn with the entry of private sector investors.”
On the issue of health, he added that members of the forum resolved to continue to support the actualisation of universal health coverage in Nigeria. This according to Governor Fayemi followed an update from the NGF secretariat on the Basic Health Care Fund, State Health Insurance Agency and the fact that Nigeria has been polio-free for three years.
“The forum also resolved to participate in UN General Assembly on the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, as well as the Tokyo international conference on Africa which will come up on August 28 to 30 as well as September 23 to 27 respectively,” Governor Fayemi added.
Some of the governors in attendance were Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Umaru Fintri (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Godwin Obaseki (Edo). Others included Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Darius Ishiaku (Taraba), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Babagana Umara (Borno) and Cross River deputy governor, Professor Ivira Esu.