By James Emejo
Stakeholders have expressed support for the implementation of the Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport and Storage Corridor (SATS-C) which is an initiative of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), to combat post-harvest losses, create jobs and boost the contribution of the agriculture sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, while speaking at a breakfast meeting on the development of the SATS-C policy in Abuja, expressed confidence that the implementation will provide benefits in the areas of strengthening the agricultural supply chain to drive an agro-industrial renaissance.
He said the policy would also facilitate the emergence of a functional supply chain system and commodity exchange as well as ensuring that a single Secured Commodity Aggregation Zones (SCAZ) of a 100,000mt annual capacity will create 25,600 direct jobs, 100,000 indirect jobs and save about $37 million in foreign exchange due to an improved supply chain system.
Among other things, the minister pointed out that SATS-C would further create the necessary platform to support various agricultural commodity-focused intervention; increase efficiency in commodity handling, leading to a reduction in haulage cost as well as cut post-harvest losses.
He said the initiative will further provide opportunities for the simplification, harmonisation of procedures and standardisation of products and reforms while shortening service delivery time on clearance and haulage in the agricultural commodity supply chain segment in the country.
Specifically, Adebayo said: “This is critical as it will enhance our capacity to improve on the implementation status of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in which Nigeria has only achieved 18.9 per cent. Also, the One State, One Product Initiative of the Zero-Oil Plan, the AFCFTA Competiveness and overall reduction of post-harvest losses hovering between 15-50 per cent.”
In a landmark collaboration with government agencies, the minister said his ministry will coordinate and provide an enabling platform for policy formulation across the inter-agency cooperation by situating the SATS-C policy as a sub-committee under the existing National Trade Facilitation Committee.
Also, he said the Federal Ministry of Transport will capture and maintain a database of all National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other logistics personnel participating under the National SATS-C programme.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Interior will further provide relevant personnel and efforts necessary for security clearance of vehicles moving along designated secured corridors while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will ensure that the production of critical agricultural produce meets the relevant standards necessary for domestic consumption, industrial raw-material and value-added export commodities.
Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide the necessary budgetary allocation and finance framework for supporting the execution of the National SATS-C programme while the Federal Ministry of Justice will provide the policy formulation guidance and relevant legal framework for developing an Executive Order to support the proposed SATS-C policy.
The minister, therefore, tasked the private sector players who are users of the proposed corridors to key into the policy towards its successful takeoff.