By Ugochukwu Alaribe, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has said that his administration will be open to greater collaboration with the Nigeria Export-Import, NEXIM, Bank, towards expanding the shoe sector in the state to measure up to the standard available in international markets. Ikpeazu who stated this when he received in audience the delegation of NEXIM Bank led by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abubakar Bello at the Governor’s Lodge Aba lodge, explained that his administration has tackled headlong the major problems facing the leather and garments sector which include, automation, marketing, and power supply.
He stated that the aggressive marketing of Made in Aba products embarked upon by his administration has increased the confidence of the average Aba producer as it has started yielding positive results.
In his words; “Apart from sending 30 Abia youths to China to study automated shoe production and the procurement of the machines to ensure consistency and massive production, my administration through dedication and synergy with the federal government attracted the Ariaria Independent Power while the Geometric power supply is in its last stage of completion in the process to boost power supply.” “Abia State has attracted the interest and partnership with major global shoe manufacturers, the State Polytechnic in Aba will work closely with the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company, ENASCO, and the footwear Academy in Aba to develop an academic program for the certification of a skilled shoemaker while the State Quality Control Agency will ensure high quality of these products.”
He commended the technical support by the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company and encouraged all to take pride in locally made goods as a way of supporting the young artisans in the shoe and leather garments sector which will have positive effects on the economy. Earlier, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, explained that their visit was to seek strategic partnership with Abia State Government in building skills of shoe manufacturers and other leather products with the aim of making Aba the headquarters of shoe manufacturing, not just in Nigeria but in Africa. He noted that Ikpeazu’s efforts in the aggressive marketing of Made in Aba goods stressing that their involvement will tackle head-on, the challenges of restrictions in the export process as well as tariffs.