Private Sector Should Drive Agro-Processing Zones- ACCI

Alhaji Al MujtabaAbubakar, FCA, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry commends the initiative of the Federal Government to set up agro-processing zones across the country with seven billed to take off very soon. The policy action is a timely response to the push for the diversification of the economy to bridge dwindling fortune of the oil sector and to meet the challenges of African continental free trade zone.

We are also excited by the coverage of the planned agro-proceesing zones. The nationwide reach of the projects confirms the seriousness of the Federal and state governments to address the urgency of agricultural value addition to increase export earnings and compete favourably locally and internationally. The expected massive output will make up for the late action to upgrade the national agricultural exporting capacity.

We are however urging the Federal Government to ensure that the programme is driven by the private sector. Agro-processing zones should be the turf of the organised private sector while the government provides the enabling framework, support and the environments to make the project thrive. The OPS has the skills and the experience to transform the dream of the government into reality in term of a diversified economy with maximum efficiency.

The private sector has the qualities of less waste, transparent business model and value for money. The programme will also gain from the time tested Industry experience in the processing sub-sector while also leveraging on the extensive capacity of the private sector to drive such business model.

We particularly commend the Ministers of Agriculture as well as that of Trade and Investment for their collaboration and foresight. We however submit that fully integrating the private sector into the design and implementation process will make a huge difference in the attainment of the project goals and agenda.

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