The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on the federal government to ensure the integration and key participation of the private sector in the projected agro-processing programme.
In a statement signed by Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, ACCI president, the organisation opined that agro-processing zones should be the responsibility and operational control of the private sector while the government provide the enabling framework, support and the environments to make the project thrive,noting that the private sector possesses the expertise and the experience to transform the dream of the government into reality in terms of a diversified economy with maximum efficiency.
According to the ACCI, the private sector has the qualities of less waste, transparent business model and value for money. As a result, 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.
Commending the initiative of the federal government to set up agro-processing zones across the country with seven billed to take off very soon, the organisation said 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 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,” the statement read in part.
The ACCI also lauded the coverage of the planned agro-processing zones, adding that 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, it noted, will make up for the late action to upgrade the national agricultural exporting capacity.