With the groundbreaking of the $400m first phase of development of Ogun State Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), the state will enjoy a multimodal transportation system that allows the link of rail, road and airport exports.
The $800m project would be the biggest investment in Nigeria, with the first phase said to be worth $400m. The project is an integrated development initiative designed to physically concentrate agro-processing activities at scale in order to leverage and harness the high agricultural potentials of the State.
The SAPZ will fast-track the ongoing industrialization of the state by boosting productivity and by integrating the production, processing, and marketing of carefully selected commodity value chains that will enable agricultural producers, processors, aggregators, and distributors to operate in the same environment.
The Special Agro-Processing Zone is expected to improve production cost efficiencies through shared infrastructure and facilities, which in turn increase the productivity competitiveness of agricultural value chains.
According to Ogun State Commissioner for Transportation, Gbenga Dairo, close proximity of Ogun with Lagos, which itself is now growing beyond the geographical mass of what the state can contain, there is a quiet overflow into Ogun State and the vision of the state is to develop Ogun into the extent that it can pull and attract investment into Ogun State.
Dairo said there is an economic team set up by the governor, which is identifying economic clusters across the state.
“Where we are today in Remo cluster, is one of those six clusters across the state and this particular cluster is going to house the Special Agro-processing zone (SAPZ), which in fact is a brainchild of the Federal authorities, they have identified about eight SAPZ centers across the country and Ogun State is just one. In fact, this SAPZ is one of them to now reach this landmark milestone, the ground-breaking exercise that we are conducting today.”
To make the SAPZ effective, he said it must have connections and modal transportation access. “So that wise, this particular zone is going to house the Agro-Cargo Airport which is already developing and we hope that by the first quarter of next year, the first aircraft will begin to land and operate from this airport.
“As you know in our country, build any road and you see what happens after you build that road, development springs up, that is the same effect this airport is going to have around this area.”
President, of ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms, Gangan Gupta, said the company has invested in several African countries, including Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Gabon, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, amongst others, saying his company was happy to be in Ogun State and ready to build an industrial platform capable of transforming the economy and contributing to the industrial development of the state.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the project as a landmark and a step forward in the economic revolution of Nigeria.
He added that SAPZ would help in agri-industrialization and create jobs for the people, noting “this is going to be a regional trading hub.”
Also, the President, of AFREXIM Bank, Benedict Oramah, attributed the peace and security in Ogun State as key factors that attracted Arise Consortium to it and commended the governor for creating an enabling environment for both local and foreign investments in the state.
Chairman, of the Senate Committee on Industries, Adetokunbo Abiru, also described the project as an example of how the private sector could be harnessed for the economic development of Nigeria, expressing confidence that the SAPZ would boost the agricultural value chain, raise revenue, create jobs and boost exports.
Chairman of the African Finance Corporation, Sumaila Zubairu, said that the project sitting on 5,100 hectares of land would change the landscape of Ogun State in 18 months.
“Through value-addition like this, we can create jobs and wealth. We will continue to play our role in enhancing the industrial development in Nigeria and Ogun,” Zubairu added.
Source: The Guardian