Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has assured of the State’s commitment to the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones Project of the Federal Government supported by the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the International Fund for African Development (IFAD).
Speaking at the Executive Council Chambers, Government House Owerri at the weekend, when the project team paid a working visit to him, Governor Uzodimma said government is interested in ensuring that everything needed to qualify Imo State for the programme is provided to enable her benefit in all areas of the programme.
He expressed gladness that the struggle of his government towards stimulating economic activities of the State, especially by creating an economy through Agro-based processes is yielding fruits, and hoped that this will go a long way in benefitting Imo people.
Governor Uzodimma thanked the team for choosing Imo State for the Special Programme designed to support Nigeria by the African Development Bank.
Also, he thanked the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and by extension, the Federal Ministry of Finance, for their choice of Imo State as a beneficiary of the Pilot project alongside other States in Nigeria.
Governor Uzodimma who showed enthusiasm over the project, also acknowledged that “Imo State is not very strong economically, and not even advanced in business, that is why on assumption of office I decided to ensure that Imo benefits from all interventions of this nature, to create an economy for the benefit of the people of Imo State.”
Stemming from the above, he passionately requested that everything possible be done to ensure that Imo is carried along and benefit from all facets of the programme, starting from conception to implementation, “so that the State gets all the benefits.”
Finally, the Governor requested for the domestication of the programme given all bureaucratic challenges and more importantly, to create windows for flexibility in the planned implementation, noting that “there could be minor differences in the rules of businesses of the States and that of African Development Bank.”
On the reason for the visit, the Programme Team leader, Barr. Richard Mbamara said they were in the State to have firsthand information on the available infrastructural facilities in Imo that will qualify the state for the programme.
He said they “visited the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport and have seen the development Trust and Economic Agenda of the Governor and are satisfied.”
He explained that Imo State is among the States identified as a model for implementation of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones Project of the Federal Government, supported by AFDB an IFAD.
In his contribution, the lead consultant of the project for Imo State, Dr. Chiedozie Egesi said “the team has already made some significant milestones having identified things that they will focus on which include the Cargo Terminal at the Sam Mbakwe International Airport.”
Egesi added that they plan to visit some private-owned Poultry Farms at Ngor Okpalla and the Livestock Processing Hub at Okigwe where they hope to “establish dairy industry, leather industry and beef industry in an integrated place,” where they hope “the Mission of the Bank – the Feed Africa Team – will be met and the bank will come to support them.”