The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that the establishment of Special Agro-Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria has the potential of attracting about N1.4 trillion ($4 billion) investments into the country.
The chairman of the forum and governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this while briefing the media after the forum’s 4th meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.
Fayemi explained that all states were potential beneficiaries of the SAPZs initiative, which would bring together the farming and the processing community.
“The Forum was briefed by its deputy chairman and governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal on the meeting between the Forum and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“The 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.
“This SAPZs which will bring together the farming and the processing community have the potential of attracting about one billion dollars from the AfDB and up to $4 billion with the entry of private sector investors,” said Fayemi.
Fayemi said that the governors already agreed with AfDB that a tasks desk for the initiative would be at NGF Secretariat to co-ordinate interest expressed from various states.
On the issue of health, he said that members of the forum resolved to continue to support the actualisation of universal health coverage in Nigeria.
This according to him followed update from the NGF Secretariat on Basic Health Care Fund (BHCF), State Health Insurance Agency and the fact that Nigeria had been polio-free for three years and on the verge of being certified polio free.
“The governors expressed willingness to prioritize routine immunization coverage in the States which will ensure that Nigeria is declared polio free and ensure sustainability moving forward.”
Asked of the governors’ decision on the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) directive on local government funds, Mr. Fayemi said the governors were exploring available means to settle the matter.
“NFIU is a matter that is on our agenda consistently, but as you may be aware we are also in court.
“We are exploring all other initiatives in order to ensure that we come to a clear conclusion on NFIU matter.”
During the meeting, Fayemi said the governors also received a presentation on polio eradication from Rotary International Nigeria PolioPlus Committee, led by its chairman, Mr. Tunji Funsho.
“Rotary have been active in the dedication of polio for a considerable length of time.
“The briefing is about the work that have been done and the need to sustain progress and keeping our state forces on eradication of wide polio virus intact.”
Fayemi said the forum also received a presentation on the forthcoming ‘state of the states conference’ scheduled for November 26 to 27, from the managing director of CWC, Mr. Scott Sheldon
He said that the governors pledged to work with the team from CWC to deliver on the objectives of the conference.
“The forum also resolved to participate in UN General Assembly on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change; as well as the Tokyo international conference on Africa which will come up on Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 as well as Sept. 23 to Sept. 27 respectively.”
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 were 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, Prof. Ivira Esu.